Judges 2;10-3:31; Luke 22:14-34; Psalm 92:1-93:4; Proverbs 14:1-2
Jesus gave permission to Satan to get close to his disciple, Simon Peter: “Simon, Simon Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat.” Luke 31:31
Peter may have winced at these words–“sifted”–because in those days sifting grain entailed lots of beating and tossing around again and again until the grain was separated from the useless stuff–the chaff. The end of the process produced grain–ready to be ground and made into bread.
Peter may have felt some comfort in Jesus’ next words, “but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 31:31-32
Peter had no intentions of turning his back on Jesus and boldly declares “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” 31:33
Bold Peter didn’t know what to make of Jesus’ next declaration, “I tell you Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” 31:34
The sifting would begin.
Like Peter, we may stand firm in our convictions until we feel the blows of hard times and disappointments; of delays and deadends. Until we feel ourselves being tossed about by circumstances beyond our control.
Like Peter, Jesus allows Satan to sift us. He allows this testing to strengthen us–this sifting of the worthless from that which is most precious–our faith.
He prays for us, like he did for Peter.
Peter’s sifting prepared him to be even more useful to his Lord and Savior.
Our sifting can do the same!
Lord God, it is not a pleasant process–this sifting–but we thank you for it. For we know that by your Grace and Mercy you are preparing us for greater service to you–for the sharing of the Bread of Life to a hungry world. Thank you for preserving us during the trials of our lives; for keeping us from despair and hopelessness; for making our faith stronger.
Thank you for Peter, though he denied you three times, he went on to proclaim you as Lord; though humbled, continued to love and serve you; though sifted by Satan, became the Rock on which you built your church.
Use us, O Lord, as your sifted ones, for Jesus’ sake, Amen