“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)
Years ago, a young couple who
are dear friends of ours were going through a significant life struggle. The pain and desperation were both devastating
and overwhelming. When I asked the
husband how he was dealing with the struggle and the heartache, he replied, “At
first I was tempted to get mad at God, but then he said to me, ‘We’re past that
now, aren’t we?’ And he was right.” He had come to understand God, and God’s
goodness in a deep and profound way. He
didn’t just believe that God was good, he knew that goodness.
I think that’s what Simon
Peter was saying right here. After all,
many of Jesus’ disciples had “turned back and no longer followed him,” but
Simon Peter had stayed. What was the
difference? I think the difference was
that Simon Peter, just like my young friend, not only believed in the goodness
of God, but he knew it—he had experienced it firsthand in a deep and profound way.
To believe (pisteuō)
means to be fully persuaded of, and to know (ginōskō) means to
become intimately acquainted with. One
without the other will not suffice. It
is not enough just to know intellectually.
In order to truly believe, we must also know relationally. We will never be convinced of the goodness of
God’s heart until we have experienced that goodness firsthand. It is this relational knowing that
anchors our intellectual believing in a deep trust in, and experience
of, his goodness. That’s why Simon Peter
just couldn’t walk away; he knew better.
His response was not, “I have no other choice,” but, “I know, I know, I
know, that you are good, whatever this life may bring.” May we be the same.