Ezekiel 34:11 For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.

“I hate you!” The words pierced the young mother’s heart with cruel force. Her five-year-old son couldn’t comprehend the sharpness of his speech. She sat down next to him on the floor, hugged and kissed him, whispering, “Well, that’s too bad, because I love you more than you will ever know.”

Peter and Paul were two men who profoundly inform the emergence of the early church. However, their journeys are anything but straightforward. Peter routinely speaks out of turn, and in his darkest hour, he denies knowing Jesus. Paul is a fierce persecutor of the first Christians, and it takes nothing short of the blinding light of God to convert him. But over and against all odds, Jesus chooses Peter as the foundational rock of the church and commissions Paul as an apostle, inspiring him to write nearly half of the New Testament.
As a mother cares for her children, so God buffers and heals our shortcomings. God raises us from the depths of our brokenness and redeems us, whispering, “I love you more than you will ever know.”

MOVING FORWARD: Which unlikely leader might God be preparing in your community? How can you support that person?