"And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren" -Luke 22:31-32
The Greek for "sift" actually means - an inward agitation to try one's faith to the verge of overthrow" - WOW!
So this all brings up a few questions & thoughts to me...
*Does Satan have to ask permission to "sift" everyone from God? How much constant contact is there between Satan & God? Satan also spoke with God when it came to Job too. Wouldn't you love to hear those conversations?!
*Jesus didn't look to Simon Peter & say, "Let's just bind up Satan & rid you of all these troubles that you may go through." Instead, he said, "I've prayed for you that your faith not fail." So he's allowing these trials knowing that its going to make him the person he will be - a faithful follower of Christ.
*Jesus also says, "when you have returned to me..." - I love that! Jesus knew Simon Peter would go through turmoil & a time where he even denied his friend, his Savior, but He also knew the end result. That's so comforting to me! Its like God likes to tease Satan - like he's saying "Sure, test my people", knowing all the while that His true followers will return to him & making all the other Christ followers stronger in their faith as well!
*Also, when I look at the picture of something being sifted - like people sifting water or dirt to find gems or stones - the stuff that isn't needed goes through the bottom of the sifter, its garbage. The things that matter to people, the things that are of substance are left behind to see clearly, without the gunk all over it. What an image of us coming out of a "sifted"-sort of trial!
*And the meaning of "sift" - to the VERGE of overthrow! Man, does that ring a bell with some people. How often do we get to the end of our ropes & scream, "Where's God?" - we get pushed right to the edge of our limits. Next time that happens - think of this story & know that Jesus KNOWS you're going to return to him, stronger, more dedicated, & having more faith in Him!How exciting are those simple two lines of the Bible now?