When I was going through one of my many seasons of sin, I was not sure if The Lord even knew I existed. I thought He had given up on me and there was no hope of any kind of forgiveness whatsoever. I did not understand why I was going through what I was going through because I was not supposed to be "one of those people." I prayed for so long for God to come rescue me out of the pit I was in, but there was no answer.
I had to find an answer to why God did not answer me at the time that I demanded an answer and why He didn't rescue me at MY time of need. I talked to my mentor and she told me, "Satan is sifting you like wheat." A "sifter" is a machine that violently shakes grain and turns it into soft flour. What I did not understand at the time, is that Satan must ask for permission from God to "attack" us. He must ask for permission to break us to a point where we must make a decision to choose God or choose Satan. I also saw a post written on Proverbs 31 about how another woman's faith was shaken and I thought, "Ok! I am not the only one who has been attacked and "sifted" by Satan! Phew!"
I read the story of Peter in the bible where Satan asks for permission to violently shake him.
It was the night before Jesus was crucified. He was sharing the Last Supper with His disciples and turned to Peter (also called Simon): "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." A few hours later, Satan pulled out his first round of ammunition. He fired fear at Peter to get him to deny Christ. Satan knew if he could get Peter (and each of us) to fall for fear, our faith may fail. If this happens, he then sends the atomic bomb of shame and embarrassment.
There are three things we can learn from this story to encourage us in our troubles:
1. Satan asks God for permission to shake us, just like he did Peter.
God allows hardships for divine purposes. Our faith is increased through each trial, and we learn to trust God’s faithfulness and accept His mercy.
2. Jesus is praying for us, that our faith will not fail.
Wow, that’s huge! The very God of the universe prays for you and me!
3. Even when we fail, God quickly forgives when we ask and frees us from self-condemnation.
Peter learned this lesson not from his successes, but from his failures. After he denied Christ, Jesus forgave him and commissioned Peter to preach the Gospel and care for others. He could have lived with the shame of failing in his faith, but Jesus’ forgiveness washed that away.
Self-condemnation is probably one of the worst ways Satan tries to sift us. If our faith falters, we need to immediately ask God for forgiveness and not stay stuck in guilt. This helps take our focus off ourselves and puts it on serving others and the Lord.
Has Satan been sifting you lately? Boy, do I understand. Hectic deadlines, poor health issues, sinful temptations, money frustrations and the pressures of life can shake our faith. These things can cause us to doubt that God is enough and will take care of us. In the middle of trials, we need to remember that God is in control, Jesus is praying for us and there is grace when our faith fails. Trusting these truths will move us from doubt and defeat to hope and peace.