Along this path, our friendship has deepened. We have ran and laughed. Even jumping with excitement over victories the Lord has allowed. I have also ran and cried along that concrete trail. We both have. Sometimes we’ve been so deep with hurt we could barely speak a word. All we could do was slow down and keep moving.
Running. A parallel of life. Laughing. Deep joy. Victories. Grieving. Crying. Hurt. Silence. Endurance.“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31,32
Jesus and Simon Peter had ran some distance together. They did life. Peter was the chosen one – The Rock of the coming church. But Jesus knew that Peter was about to walk through the roughest terrain of his journey. The sifting of Simon Peter. The sifting of wheat? How does that translate to us today?
John Piper says, that the sifting of Peter and the others is “Satan’s effort to destroy their faith. And this remains Satan’s main goal today. It is relatively unimportant to Satan whether we are healthy or sick, rich or poor; what he wants is to sift out our faith. If he can do it by suffering he will try that; if he can do it by wealth, he will try that.”
Do you know what astounds me the most about this passage? Here He is. Jesus – Fully God. Fully man. The power of His Word able to bring the world into existence. But, look at Jesus’ response. “I have prayed for you…that your faith may not fail.”
What? Why didn’t Jesus pray for Satan to call it off? Isn’t Peter important? I mean, He could have said no. “Sorry Satan. Peter is special. He’s my Rock. I need him left alone. Pick on someone else.”
No, Jesus allowed it. Why?
For Peter’s faith to increase.
I am betting that Peter was a bit confused by this. Why would his Lord, his Teacher, his Friend let anything bad happen to him? I have felt this way, too. Haven’t you? But Peter was about to learn that it is “through suffering and trial our faith is refined. We are drawn to rely ever more heavily on God and we are moved to cherish his grace more strongly. Satan has his role to play in fanning the flames of our refining furnace. We must be sober in our prayers, fight the good fight and anticipate the victory of God at the perfect time.” -Piper, On the Sifting of Simon Peter.
Friend, is this where you are today? Are you being sifted as wheat? Do you feel as if you are on a big mesh sieve being shaken to your core? Are you tired? Torn? Weak? Desperate? Your faith on the brink of failing you?
When (not if) but when this happens, let us be of great courage. Faith can not fall through mesh. Continue steadfastly in prayer. Your wind may be knocked out… you may have to slow your pace, but for Heaven’s sake, keep running. Your eyes staying fixed on the Prize. Place your hope in the one who can save you. In the one who runs beside you. Put your hope in the one who is praying that your faith may not fail.