“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.” (Luke 22:31–32 (ESV))
I just sort of bumped into this passage a few minutes ago, and I am awestruck by the fact that I never before in all the numerous times I’ve read this, realized just how much of my own experience with Christ is illustrated in this section of scripture and especially in these two verses.
I don’t want anyone to think that I am for a minute saying that it was Satan’s fault that I ran away from my faith for so long – it was not. Christ says that Satan wanted to sift Simon like wheat; the worm whispers in our ears all of the sinful desires we hold in our hearts, and he turns in our guts and sets our fears and doubts to boiling within us, but it is always we (always me), who chooses to sin or not.
And I ran. I ran from God, I ran from my vow, I ran in shame and fear, denying who and what I was, to who I belonged. For years and years I backslid, and fought as more and more of me was sifted away by the machinations of the worm who always knows which buttons to push, what knobs to turn, what lies to tell, to lead us to our destruction. By all rights, this should have been how I met my end.
Jesus had prayed for me too, my great intercessor (Jer 27:18, Rom 8:26-27) prayed that my faith would not fail, that I would not be destroyed and cast into hell, that I would return to Him again; because He paid the price to redeem my soul and I belonged to Him forever (Heb 7:25).
And when I got to the end of my fighting and running; when I got to the end of me, I heard the voice of Christ again in my heart telling me that now that I had “turned again” (returned to Him), it was my duty to strengthen my brothers in their faith, to encourage them in their walks, to give them a hand up when they stumble, and to tell them all (especially those who do not yet believe!) of just how dark and dismal was my own failure to Christ, even AFTER He had saved me. I had failed Him for years and years, and still…
Jesus said to me, “I forgive you your sins. I will still use you for my glory. I still love you as I have since before I made you in your mother’s womb”.
Great is my God – beautiful, merciful, compassionate, faithful, and true – always! Do you know Him brothers and sisters? Do you???
If not, I pray that you will come to Him while you still may. There is only ONE road, it runs in two directions, and ends forever at one or the other: Heaven or Hell. May God bless and guide you and yours in the steps you walk in this life.