Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 32 of Lent :: Turning Back

“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)

Satan requested to sift Peter as wheat.  Jesus did not deny that request. Instead, Jesus prayed for Peter.  Jesus knew that Peter had to be sifted as wheat because He knew that Peter had his share of chaff that needed to be blown away.  Peter was blinded by his own pride.  Rather than thanking Jesus for His prayers or inquiring about how he could withstand the sifting, he rebutted Jesus by saying,

“Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
(Luke 22:33)

Jesus foresaw Peter’s denying Him three times (see Luke 22:34, 54-62), but Peter would not hear it.  After all, just a few minutes earlier, he was in the running to win the dispute concerning which of them was the greatest.  Jesus knew Peter did know his own heart, yet Jesus accepted Peter just as he was—blinded by presumption and pride.  Jesus does not give him three tips for resisting Satan’s sifting or five steps for standing firm.  No, Jesus knew that as long as there was chaff, sifting was unavoidable.

The understanding grace of Jesus is unmatched and astounding. Knowing full well what would transpire, He prayed that Peter’s faith would “not fail,” and that “when he turned back” he would “strengthen his brothers.” Just as the wounds of Christ bring us healing, God intends to use the lessons we learn from our being wounded and our overcoming our shortcomings to help others.

Reflection: How does it make you feel to know that God can take what was once your lowest, deepest, darkest moment of life and use it to bring strength, healing and encouragement to others? This is your story, and He wants you to share it with others.  Stories remind us of who we are, from where we have come, and to where we are going.  Take a few minutes and reflect on how far God has brought you, how He has changed your life, and how He is currently directing your steps.  Thank Him for what He has done and is doing in your life.

You and I may give one another the impression of being earnest, godly Christians, but before the cross we have to admit that we are not that sort of person at all.  At Calvary the naked truth is staring down at us all the time from the cross,
challenging us to drop the pose and own the truth.
Roy Hession

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