Great Men Are Sifted

"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the
right time He will lift you up in honor" (1 Peter 5:6).
I have come to realize over the years that my husband processes information much better if it is written. While I used to think he had selective hearing, he really does not hear all I say. It is partly my fault. I talk…a lot…and usually not under a hundred words….never from point A to point B in a timely manner...and I talk really fast. No wonder he prefers the written word!
When my husband and I were newlyweds of only seven months, I found out I was pregnant. I was so nervous. We had just bought a bigger house, which was great for our newly expanding family, yet it was a stressful life event. Literally, we had just moved in that week. I thought it was stress. Turned out it was a baby. I had no idea how to tell my husband. It wasn’t in our “plan” for another year and, did I mention we had just moved into a new house? I waited almost a week before I told him. He thought I was permanently grumpy. No, this should only last about nine months or so, I thought to myself one night. Finally, I knew I had to tell him. So what do you think the best way might have been? If you said send him an email….you are totally correct! I did just that. And he processed it….for over four hours! Total radio silence. I waited in anguish.
So it is no surprise then when another major life event is taking place, I am taking to the written word to send him some information. So dear readers, please indulge me while I write this note…filled with love…for my husband.

Things are crazy right now. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up. It is completely out of control and totally not where we saw ourselves at this point in our lives. But I know a couple people who found themselves in a similar situation. What they went through, they could not have predicted and in fact, probably said, No way! That would totally never happen to me.

As I reflect today on Good Friday on all the things that would have transpired so many years ago, I think about Jesus’ words to Peter in Luke 22:31-32:
           “’Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,
          but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again,
         strengthen your brothers.’”

Jesus told Simon, in advance, that Satan had asked for and received permission to sift him. For those who don’t know the process of sifting wheat, it basically loosens the chaff from the edible grain (i.e., that which is purposeful from that which has no use). Satan knew that Simon was useful to God’s kingdom and that Simon was willing to put in the work. It is interesting to note here that Jesus called him “Simon” instead of “Peter” at this moment. Jesus had previously told Simon that his name would now be Peter (John 1:42) and that, “’you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus had already changed “Simon” (little pebble) to “Peter” (rock) and yet, here Jesus was calling him Simon again. He went from a pebble to a rock back to a pebble. Why? He had to prove his faith. Simon had to prove that he was Peter.
God gave us the same warning. He told us that you were going to be sifted, just like He did with Simon.
I have read these words Jesus said to Simon so many times, but it wasn’t until recently that these words jumped off the page for me
                                     but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail
Jesus was praying for Simon that he would in fact end up Peter. The same Jesus who would only a short while later pray drops of blood. The same Jesus who sits at the right hand of God the Father. He did not pray that it wouldn’t happen. He didn’t pray for a lighter sifting. No, He prayed that Simon’s faith would not fail.
He is doing the same thing for you. Jesus is on his knees and has been on his knees praying on your behalf… even as the sifting gets hard that we sometimes want to pack it all in. He is interceding on your behalf.
Jesus told Peter that before the rooster crowed, he would deny Jesus three times (Luke 22:34). Peter had it somewhat easy, right? I mean, Jesus gave him a tangible marker. But then what? Jesus never actually told him what would happen after the denials. Or did he?
After Jesus told Simon that He had prayed for him that his faith would not fail, Jesus held out hope that Simon would still be all in. Notice the next line.
                                  And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
Jesus didn’t tell Simon “If” you pass then. No, Jesus said “when.” He knew fully that Simon would realize all that had taken place, repent and move forward. Jesus had work for Peter to do and Jesus prayed him through it. Satan may have thought he could win, but like Job and Jesus himself, they all beat Satan at his own game.
Job and Peter were minding their own business, working unto the Lord, when they appeared on Satan’s radar. We don’t see anywhere in scripture that shows they were bad guys or doing bad things. Satan messed with them because they were serving the Lord.
Satan saw that same thing in you. He asked permission to sift you. God may have said, Yes, but Jesus prayed for you. And now, He has seen that your faith has not failed. You have beaten Satan at his own game.
He is moving you forward. He needs you to strengthen your brothers.
You have a Father who is looking upon you saying, This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.
I feel the same way.


And yes, my husband did keep me in anguish for over four hours, but he came home with a bottle of sparkling apple cider and a huge smile on his face….

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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1 Comment

Maria Avila - March 30th, 2013 at 3:50am

I absolutely love this Erin. I too have read that scripture numerous times and I had never seen it in that light. Thank you so much for sharing and God bless