Getting Sifted

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love Peter. He is my very favorite disciple and of all the people I’m looking forward to meeting in heaven, he’s at the top of the list.

One of my favorite stories of Peter is when he denies Christ three times. I drink deeply of this story not because of what Peter did, but because of how Jesus loved.

When Jesus and His disciples participate in the Last Supper, Jesus tells Peter a test is coming.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Luke 22:31-32

Jesus tells Peter, “I’m praying for you.” Rom. 8:34 and Heb.7:25 both tell us that Jesus is interceding for us. He is going to the Father on our behalf.

It’s a great comfort to me to know that Jesus is praying for me. But if I got to choose the type of prayer, I think it would be more of a ‘live long and prosper’ prayer.

“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.”

If I were in Peter’s place and I’d just found out that satan was asking about me, I think I would prefer that Jesus say, “I have prayed for you, that satan may not touch you,” or “that satan would leave you alone.” After all, the best battle is one you don’t have to fight, right?

But Jesus doesn’t pray that Peter be totally delivered from his coming trial. Why? So that he can “strengthen his brethren.”

Imagine what it must have felt like to mess up as badly as Peter did. The Scriptures say he ‘wept bitterly.’ Imagine the tears that fall because you just saw the look of hurt on your Savior’s face, and you know you put it there.

Then imagine the feeling of total grace. Think about how it must have felt for Peter, when he saw the Lord again and knew he was forgiven. What an awesome gift.

Fast forward a bit and picture Peter ministering to someone who thinks they are too far gone for Jesus’ love. Peter would have responded, “You think that’s bad. Wait till I tell you what I did.” The Bible says those who are forgiven much, love much.

No matter how hard we try, we’re all going to fall short. We’re all in need of that grace. And when we can have a brother or sister come up to us and say, “I’ve been there. God’s grace is sufficient,” it comes as a tremendous encouragement to us.

My favorite bit: “When you have returned to Me.”

Jesus doesn’t say ‘if,’ He says ‘when.’

Jesus is telling Peter, I am praying for you. Your faith will not fail. When you return to Me…”

He’s not telling Peter that if he tries really hard he might make it to the other side. No. He’s assuring him that there is another side.

When you have won this battle… When this trial ends… When you’ve passed the test…

We are already more than conquerors through Christ Who loves us. Our hope is secure in Him. He has already won the war.

We don’t have the promise that trials will never come, or that we will pass each test with flying colors. Peter didn’t, and look how mightily he was used by God.

“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33b

There are hard times right around everyone’s corner. But take heart. Jesus is praying for you, and when the battle is over, when you stand before the Lord in eternity… that’s when you’ll know it was worth every faith strengthening second. 

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About Leah Ness

I am a self-professed story addict. Ever since I was little, I've had an overactive imagination and a passion for a well-spun yarn. When I grew up, I was blessed with a passion for God as well. It was then that I noticed a relative shortage of unique Christian fiction, the kind that can both captivate you and glorify God. So, despite the hurdles of things like commas and homonyms, I am endeavoring to write some of my own. Check out my Books page for updates on current and future books. View all posts by Leah Ness

23 responses to “Getting Sifted

  • rosesnearrunningwaters

    Great post! I liked your focus on the “When” rather than “if”. Very encouraging. God Bless!

  • Susan Irene Fox

    I love Peter’s redemption story when Jesus returns and sits with him over a breakfast of fried fish, which Jesus prepared. Jesus asked Peter three times to declare his love, which allowed him to repent of the three denials. After each time, Jesus asked him to feed his sheep, giving Peter ultimate responsibility for taking care of Jesus’ own. What a tremendous gift of love, forgiveness and grace.

  • pinwika

    Beautifully written. I also identify with Peter so much, and the fact that God used him to do such wonderful things gives me great hope!

    • Leah Ness

      I get a lot of inspiration from Peter =) He sometimes reminds me of an over-eager puppy: makes a lot of messes because he’s so eager to love and be loved. I’m so glad you liked the post. Thanks for the encouraging feedback!

  • Elisha

    very encouraging! Loved this!

  • A Family Mission

    Peter is easy to love just because he is no different than many of us today. He is bold at times but timid and willing to not be ashamed at others, depending on his circumstance. But we are all broken and if not for the persistence and grace of Jesus none of us would make it.

    Good stuff Leah, thanks for it.

  • agapetheologian

    Thank you for posting! Very good post! I love God’s grace! Need it every second!

  • 3fourteen

    Reblogged this on 3FOURTEEN and commented:
    This is such an encouragement and a reminder. As Christians, we will be tested…, but a lot of the time, we want things to be rosy and expect things to be rosy. Which will not be the case.

    “The Christian need not expect to escape opposition. As long as Satan stands to resist the sons of God, as long as the world and the flesh remain, the believing man will meet opposition. Sometimes it will be sharp and obvious, but mostly it will be just the hidden and unsuspected friction set up by circumstances. No one need be anxious about this, however, for God has figured it in and made allowance for it.” – A.W. Tozer, The Next Chapter After The Last

    • Leah Ness

      I’ve always felt that if everything is rosy all the time, it’s a pretty good indication that satan doesn’t view me as a threat because I’m headed in the wrong direction. So I consider hard times to be a good sign in most cases. Thanks for the reblog and for sharing the Tozer quote, I like it a lot!

      • 3fourteen

        So true!! I sometimes think about that….as a Christian…is it possible not to have any challenges?? And is it possible not to go through serious hurt and pain?! I guess hurt and pain come in different ways, it’s not necessarily death or loss of a job, there are so many other things…and each persons challenge is different. What person A finds as a challenge will not necessarily be what person B finds a challenge. And also because we are on different stages of our races…. But His grace is always sufficient for us. That’s the most important thing to remember. And as much as we think we want to please God, God longs more for us than we do for Him…. I pray God continues to help each and everyone of us as we continue on this race…

      • Leah Ness

        Yep, I completely agree. I believe we will all face challenges, but we have more control than we think over how we react to them and how much we allow them to affect our lives. The closer our walk with the Lord, the firmer we’ll be able to stand in the face of those challenges and the less they’ll matter in light of eternity =)

  • meganannmarsden

    Fantastic post. I also write a religious blog directed toward mental illness. It’s http://www.bravehearts11.wordpress.com. Check it out!

    • Leah Ness

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked it =) And thanks for pointing me in the direction of your blog. My grandmother suffers from depression so it’s a topic that hits close to home. Thanks for coming by!

  • f4ischer

    Very encouraging! This is also my favorite story of Peter.

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