“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32 NIV)
When Jesus tells Peter he’s prayed for him, he explains this specific prayer was because “Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat” (Luke 22:31 NIV).
Now, to me, it begs the question: Lord, did you have to say “yes”?
There may be days when you wonder if God is letting Satan sift you. But, if that is true, we can choose to believe God is still in control and that his presence inside us is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
A sifting brings glory to God, such as when Job still praised his maker, even when everything seemed lost and even his wife was telling him to give up on God.
A sifting also probes your weaknesses, revealing where you’re still thinking, “I can.” A good swift sift will push you to “I can’t, but God can.”
In allowing you to be sifted, God is scraping away all the distraction and things that might hinder you from fulfilling your purpose.
The way that Jesus tells Peter about the sifting has always held a special meaning to me. Jesus didn’t just say, “Get ready for a whirlwind of hurt! I know you’re going to let me down.”
Instead, Jesus points to the future: Peter would survive the sifting. He would return humbled, but stronger, with the purpose of strengthening his brothers. In a sense, “When you turn back from your turning back, you’ll be a servant who leads.”
What is the difference between a leader who serves and a servant who leads?
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Jon Walker is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and a contributing editor at pastors.com. © Copyright 2013 Jon Walker. Used by permission.