An ordinary woman with an extraordinary story

Ponderings

When Your Faith Fails

March 13, 2018

A few heads of wheat remaining in a cut wheatfield
Wheat is sifted today by a combine. These few heads remain after harvest.

Recently, when studying the life of Peter, I stopped in my tracks at a verse I’ve read many times before, but not actually absorbed.

“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.”         (Luke 22:31-32)

Jesus is speaking to Simon Peter. They are gathered in an upper room, celebrating the Passover together. No one but Jesus knows that this night will change their lives forever.

Soon Jesus will take them all to the Garden of Gethsemane. There He will pour his heart out to God, asking Him to find another way to save the world – and yet still agree to be obedient to God’s plan. Then the guards will invade the quiet garden and arrest Jesus. They will lead Him through a mock trial. While most of the disciples hide in fear, Jesus will be condemned to death by crucifixion.

Jesus knew these things were imminent. Many times, He had tried to tell them, but they missed it every time. Tonight, as they celebrated the Passover, He tore the bread and shared it with them. “This is my body broken for you.” (vs. 19) Once more, He told them someone would betray Him. They just didn’t understand.

Then He told Peter to expect Satan to rattle his cage (my version of sift you like wheat.) Peter responded with confidence, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” (Vs. 33)

No, he wasn’t, and Jesus knew it.

“I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Vs. 34)

My heart aches for Peter. It happened just as Jesus said it would. I don’t think Peter meant to do it, or planned to do it, or even wanted to do it. He was simply afraid and bewildered. He wasn’t prepared for the servant girl’s question/accusation. (vs. 56-57) When the cock crowed, however, and Jesus turned and looked at Peter, shameful sorrow drowned him in remorse. (vs 61-62)

I wonder when he remembered – and understood – Jesus’ words.

The verse jumped off the page into my heart. Jesus’ kind words were important to Peter – and to me!

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat.”
  • Notice Satan had to ask to tempt Peter in this way.

There’s nothing that happens to me which God does not know ahead of time – even if He is not the author of it.

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”
  • Jesus prayed ahead of time for Peter’s faith.

Wow.  Even though He knows which tests I’ll fail, His main concern is for my faith. So, He asks His Father to give me faith. I figure anything Jesus asks on my behalf is a done deal. Therefore, faith is available to me when I fail, regardless of how ashamed or defeated I feel.

 “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
  • Jesus already had Peter’s next assignment ready for him when he returned (or admitted his sin). He was to strengthen his brothers.

God is not finished with me. He doesn’t throw me to the side of the road as useless. He waits for me to return, and then welcomes me back to His service.

In other words, Jesus said, “Okay Peter, Satan is about to tempt you to disown me, and you are going to do it. But I’ve already asked God to give you extra faith to help you remember forgiveness is available to you. When you come back to me, I’ve got a job waiting for you.  Don’t forget these words. I still want you.”

Don’t forget these words.

He still wants you.

And He’s been praying for your faith since before you left.

You can go back now.


Comments

Thank you, Lora. There is so much going on with Jesus and the disciples on this day, yet Jesus is working to prepare Peter for such incredible faith and leadership in the future. Like you, I had never really absorbed how Jesus offered this seed of hope to Peter before he denied him. I’m humbled with Jesus’ patience with Peter and with me. God Bless You!

Do you believe Jesus still prays for us today, before we sin?? I do and I am thankful, because despite my best efforts, I am going to fail. I don’t want to, I don’t plan to, but I will. Isn’t it amazing that He already has a plan for me when I return to Him? He still wants me. He still wants all of us. Thank you for this reminder Lora. It is filled with hope.

What a timely message and wonderful words of encouragement. Sometimes we need to hear the reassurance that He is always there no matter where we are.

I agree with all of you. I do believe Jesus prays for me – ahead of time, when He knows something is coming my way. I’m so very grateful that I’m not left alone trying to fight myself against temptation. He’s there, and has already been there, providing a way for me to endure, and escape the temptation (I Corinthians 10:13). And when I ignore the way out, He will forgive me when I’m ready to admit it. It’s all so humbling, and so encouraging, all at once.

Thank you Lora, for sharing your life and journey with us. so many times I don’t understand or know if I can go on. But you remind me that GOD already knew ahead of time. HE has things already in place to help me through this moment of my life. Thank you bring forward GOD’s Word to show me there is hope and HE is praying for me before it happened that my faith would be strengthened. I love you. May GOD bless you and the work he does through you.

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