I am currently going through the study by Beth Moore called 90 Days with Jesus. I only have about a week left which is so depressing because I have learned more from this book about my Beloved than I ever knew or took the time to realize.
In Luke 22:31-34 Jesus is talking to Peter--who is refereed to as Simon-- and is telling him of what is to come.
"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."
But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death."
Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."
I thought about this after reading it for awhile. I thought about the word sifting and how that has been done in my own life. I thought about my desire to do everything a "good christian" was suppose to, but how one word out of my younger sister's mouth would throw me back 50 feet because of my rude, unchristian like responses. Satan knew that... so he would use it often. I thought about the way I looked at myself and the hidden anger I had for the Lord because I wasn't "pretty enough" or "skinny enough". I picked and prodded through my life and dissected all the little things that I never really thought of and realized those were moments and situations that were brought on though sifting.
Then, I observed why would Satan use those things to sift me? Why would he bring some of those things up? However, when I looked at the undesirable behavior that came along with these trials I see why he did it. I was angry. Vulnerable. Filled with shame. It was self-doubting/ Self-loathing produce. Basically...it was ALL ABOUT ME!! Satan pulled up situations that peeled my eyes off Jesus and focused them on myself.
So why does this happen? Well, when I went back and read verse 31 again it was like I read it for the first time. It says that Satan has to ASK for permission to "sift us" and expose our dirty laundry and the Lord has to GRANT him permission. The funny thing is that after looking at all of my situations of sifting-- and observing what I got out of it--I realized that God uses those situations that Satan thinks will trip us up and hurt us to strengthen and pull us closer to Him. So when Satan tries to destroy us he is actually pushing us closer to the Lord. haha
Next, in verse 32 Jesus says:"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." So it is also so cool to know that when Satan is sifting us the Lord is PRAYING for US! I have never thought of that-- when we are going through difficult situations and trials the Lord is praying on our behalf. That just excites me and makes me so much more in love with our Beloved.
Beth says this perfectly... she says, "From falling, Peter is about to learn how to STAND!" Good stuff--we will fall every once in awhile. Luckily we serve a understanding God and He realizes this and loves us despite it. But if our hearts are where they need to be--surrounded with Christ's love-- we will fall but our faith will not fail.