“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” — Luke 22:31-32 NASB
Why would God give Satan permission to sift Peter?
To sift means to remove the bad from the good. Or to remove the useless from the useful. It’s almost as if Satan is requesting permission to remove bad and useless Peter from Jesus and the other disciples — and Jesus says yes.
But this one is about perspective.
From Satan’s perspective he believes that he is sifting away Peter much like he does with Judas. But from Jesus’s perspective He knows that the bad and useless parts of Peter will be sifted out of his heart so that what’s left is pure.
It’s true that Peter is going to fail in an epic manner. When it seems Jesus needed Peter the most, Peter denies that he even knows Jesus. Not just once either — three times.
If you look at the verse above, Jesus has prayed for Peter that after he fails he will return and strengthen his brothers. How can Peter strengthen his brothers after he’s just failed?
Because strength is disguised as struggle.
This failure breaks Peter in a way like no other circumstance has. But it’s in the brokenness that Peter actually becomes whole. The repentance in Peter’s heart transforms him into a rock — one that the church could be built on.
And the same is true for your life.
I believe that Satan has it in mind to sift you. He wants to lead you into failure. He wants to take you places where you feel you cannot return to God. The Bible describes Satan in John 10:10 as, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” And his main target is you.
However, Jesus prayed that Peter would repent from his failures and strengthen those around him — and His prayer is the same for you. The Bible says in Romans 8:34, “who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”
It’s the intercession of Jesus and His blood that was shed on the cross that empowers us to overcome our failures and strengthen those around us.
Failure is inevitable but it’s not final. There is no strength without a struggle. And there is no testimony without a test.
I don’t know what you’re going through right now but I want to encourage you. If you feel like Satan has been attacking you more and more know that what the enemy means for bad, God means for good. He’s going to take your trials and use it further the kingdom of God.
Hold on. Don’t give up know. Remember that glory is found in suffering.