You may be falling…but you are not failing!

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Ministry

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift youa as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”  (Luke 22:31-34 NIV)

Everyone deals with failure. Most men, I have discovered, feel like a failure in most things nearly all the time. If we’re humble and honest, we know that we don’t measure up to all we could be. And it haunts us, particularly in times of deep trouble and stress.

Falling is not Failing

Almost a year ago I was deeply struggling with trusting God. It seemed like my world was collapsing—everything I had held so confidently was suddenly in question. I had doubts and questions I had never experienced before.

The worst part of it all was that I felt I was failing God. I could not seem to “work up” faith and joy in the moment.

One day I came upon this passage, and the Spirit began to minister to my heart. I realized that Jesus had prayed that Peter’s faith would NOT fail … and Jesus always prayed perfectly, and God’s will was accomplished. Therefore, Peter’s faith must not have failed, even though he denied Christ.

What is this passage saying? Here is my paraphrase of what I believe Jesus was saying:

“Peter, you are about to go through a time when all you have hoped and dreamed and given your life for is nailed to a cross. It is going to devastate you. It will be a ‘sifting’ by the enemy of your beliefs, so much that you will even come to deny Me for a moment. But, Peter, I understand this. I know what you’re going through, and I’m going to do something for you: I AM GOING TO INTERCEDE FOR YOU that your faith would NOT fail. I know My prayer will be answered, so in advance I want to give you instructions for what to do after this grueling experience is over: When you’ve come through on the other side, strengthen your brothers!”

A few days later we see Peter, sifted by the toughest experience of his life, at the empty tomb. His faith was scratching and clawing and “hoping against hope,” but he was there, believing. And not long after that, he stood up and preached, and 3000 people were saved!

Surviving being sifted by Satan

Sifting is hard! It may take us down toward the bottom of the pit in our lives for a season…but it is just that…a season! But there will come a moment of grace when the wind of God’s Spirit blows gently across the meager sparks of our faith, and it ignites and blazes again…Praise God!

Sifting is beneficial. It helps us understand others’ doubts and fears and struggles. It develops a mature, seasoned faith. It reminds us of God’s incredible, personal care of us. It ultimately endears us to Him. It prepares us to be warriors who can face and deal with anything. It toughens us spiritually.

I heard someone say after a gut-wrenching, life altering situation in their life  “I have been all the way to the bottom, and it’s rock solid!”

If you’re in the midst of Satan’s sifting, be encouraged. Your Elder Brother, Friend, Savior and Lord is at the right hand of God the Father. He is praying for you—your faith will not fail. And afterward, just as Peter did, you, by His grace and power will strengthen many!

 

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