If there was a ’Year Book‘ for Christ’s Twelve Disciples, which one would have been voted “Most likely to succeed”? Probably Judas Iscariot would have. I doubt that Simon Peter would have received any votes. After all, he had failed and goofed up so many times! But in the end, both men failed in similar ways yet only Peter ‘failed well‘. How he did it should give those of us who regularly fail — and all too often feel like failures — hope that God is able to redeem both us and our failures.
There are many things in life that are completely counter-intuitive. That is, the most natural and obvious thing to do is sometimes exactly what you shouldn’t do. I saw a dramatic example of this on Air Crash Investigations where a plane inexplicably nose-dived and crash landed killing all on board. After examining the flight recorder, the investigators found that the pilots had reacted to the plane’s slight drop in altitude by pulling the plane’s nose up to correct the drop in altitude. But due to an anomaly in weather conditions, the plane didn’t respond as expected and continued to lose altitude. So the pilots pulled back on their control columns even harder to quickly correct the drop in altitude. This action, however, caused the even greater loss of altitude which resulted in the tragedy. Investigators concluded that in such conditions, the pilots should have responded counter-intuitively by pointing the nose down to regain control of the aircraft before attempting to increase its altitude. Another counter-intuitive example came from Dr. Fazale Rana, a biochemist, who presented at Legana several years ago and shared how a dam had been formed in South America which in several islands being formed. The native wildlife managed to take refuge on these islands but conservationists were concerned that on one of the islands predators also took refuge and would soon wipe out the other animals on the island. Counter-intuitively though, the island with no predators soon saw its wildlife die out, whereas the island with predators saw its wildlife flourish! Adversity may well be one of the most counter-intuitive factors operating in our world for our good!