Happy Easter. Yes, it’s a few days late. But we should be celebrating the fact that He rose from the dead everyday anyway right? I wanted to share something with you that I read on Easter Sunday. For us, it was not a typical Easter Sunday. I wasn’t feeling very good, so we ended up staying home. And it was weird to not be at church, to not be with family gathered around, listening to Grandpa read the resurrection story together, opening yummy baskets that mom and grandma still makes for all of us. I find the older I get, the more I love the thoughtfulness of them putting those together for us, and the silliness of the cute decorated basket and goodies inside.
Brandon and I sat down to read through the Easter story together. And I got caught up on something I had never noticed before. Jesus takes his twelve disciples into the room together and begins to talk with them, at the last supper. And after the disciples start debating which one of them is the greatest, Jesus begins to share with them. Then He turns on Simon and says, “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.” A few things struck me in a new and profound way from those verses.
One. Satan has to ask God to mess with one of His own children. To me, this just shows the power of the Lord. And satan wants to sift Simon as wheat. I have heard this saying many times, and even pry heard a sermon or two on it. But, I looked up the definition of “sifting wheat” It’s a two step process. The first part is called threshing. It involves spreading the wheat on the floor and beating it with an old tool called a flail. The second step was winnowing, and this was done by throwing the grain into the air and the lighter chaff would be blown off while the good stuff would fall back down. I find this fascinating. Satan basically strolled up to God and asked, “can I beat on Simon and see if he blows off in the wind and forgets you God?” And the shocking reply God our Father gave? YES.
Two. But don’t miss the next words!!! But Jesus himself says He will pray for Simon! What?!! I have never thought of Jesus praying for me! I think of me praying to Him, or Him talking to me. But Jesus was telling Simon that He prayed for him, that Simon’s faith would not fail. That even though Jesus knew Simon would be beat up from satan, He prayed that Simon would pass the test and not fly off in the wind. And then it occurred to me, can you imagine how awful it would be to have satan single you out to want to sift you? But can you also imagine how amazing it is that the Lord Jesus Christ would be right there with you when such an awful thing occurred? That Jesus himself would beseech the Father on your behalf, praying that you would cling to Him and not fall away into satan’s hands?
Three. Jesus already knows the outcome. His next words to Simon are “WHEN you turn back, strengthen your brothers” He knows that even though Simon will go through a hard time, and will fail at first, he will eventually go back down to the ground as real wheat, and the end result will be worth it all. Simon will still love the Lord, through a trying and difficult situation, and he will go on to strengthen his brothers in the Lord. And we all know He did! Peter turned out to be a mighty man of God.
My reason for sharing this with you is twofold. I feel as if satan has asked God to sift me as wheat. Don’t worry I won’t moan and groan and tell you all the hard things that have happened to me as of late. It’s sufficient to know that I feel satan has been sifting me in certain areas of my life. One particular area is in regards to children and starting a family. It’s something Brandon and I have wanted for sometime now, and we continue to faithfully wait upon the Lord and His perfect timing. But I feel as if satan is hoping I’ll turn against the Lord, feel sorry for myself, question God and His goodness. And yet Jesus has been by my side, and Brandon’s, for every step of the way. He finds amazing ways to speak His mercy and goodness to my heart, month after month, year after year. Such verses like Psalm 60:1&2, “My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will never be shaken”. I can really truly say with all my heart that God is good. His mercies are new every morning, and He has compassion towards those who fear Him. And even though satan might be wanting to sift me as wheat, Jesus is right by my side. He will never leave me nor forsake me!!
My second reason for sharing this is to encourage you. Perhaps you feel as if you are being sifted? Is there something, old or new in your life that satan is hoping will be the one thing he uses to get you turn your back on God? Something that feels unfair? Something that is wearing you down and making you feel like God is no where to be found? And satan doesn’t need an all out rebellion, he is happy with just enough to keep you from an intimate relationship with your heavenly Father. Are you too busy for God? Too caught up in whatever it is that you have made a priority, instead of your relationship with Him? Satan wants just enough of you that you don’t really trust God, or you don’t really want to obey Him, or you don’t really believe His Word to be true and right. Are you there? If you are, I encourage you to run. Run as fast as you can into the arms of God. Satan could be sifting you, right now, but you can still choose the outcome. Will you be blown away, tossed to the side, another casualty of satan and his evil schemes? Or will you preserver? Will you choose to trust the Lord and cling to Him?…cause He is right beside you praying on your behalf. He loves you and cares about the intimate details of your life. He will protect you, comfort you, and save you-if you allow Him to.