Lenten Devotional: April 2

Psalm 118; Psalm 145; Jeremiah 23:16-32;
1 Corinthians 9:19-27
; Mark 8:31-9:1

But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Mark 8: 33

I make dinner for my family every night. Some days, it’s a pleasure to imagine what we might eat, to shop and prepare it. But often, as I prepare dinner, I can feel my blood pressure begin to rise. I start to stress that dinner will be late to the table, I worry that the delay will mean I won’t get the children into bath soon enough, and therefore not into bed soon enough, and then I am certain (before I even chop one vegetable) that all is lost and our night will end in meltdowns and tears for all.

Throughout the Bible, the word ‘Satan’ has different meanings, but the one that always sticks with me is “something (or someone) who obstructs or opposes.” It’s one of those meanings that has gotten lost over the years and replaced with some devilish incarnation of evil. But I rather enjoy thinking of ‘Satan’ as a rock that we trip over when we’re focusing on the wrong things.

That’s precisely how Jesus uses the word ‘Satan’ when he talks to Peter. Satan is tripping Peter up — he’s focusing on the wrong things. Don’t we so often get tripped up in this same way? We think of the everyday, human things instead of remembering God? We get tripped up by those tiny rocks in our path that are such distractions. Like getting tripped up by the tiny details of cooking for our families that prevent us from remembering that sharing a nourishing meal together is a gift from God, a blessing on our day.

Jesus is Peter’s reminder, and ours us today, to refocus. When we trip over that rock in our path, let it be a reminder that we can let go of some of those distractions and refocus on God, and the divine blessings in our lives.