31"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But 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).
What was Satan asking God for and why did he have to ask?
Satan wanted to shake Simon Peter's faith, but because Peter was a believer, he had to ask permission from the Lord to sift and shake the apostle's life. God allowed a test to come to Simon Peter because he would be a stronger disciple after his self-reliance and pride were broken. What kind of test was allowed? There in the courtyard of the High Priest, Peter was asked three times if he had been with Christ. Each time Peter responded that he didn't know Him. His heart was broken with remorse and repentance when he remembered Jesus' words that before the cock crowed, he would deny three times that he even knew Christ. God allowed him to be humbled and broken before He could use him to preach the gospel in power on the Day of Pentecost. After the trial of Peter's faith, he came to a place of spiritual abundance.
10For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. 11You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. 12You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance (Psalm 66:10-12).
Let's say that you are a person with a love for Christ, but when the going gets tough, and the fire gets hot in the midst of the refinery, you default to a lifestyle of denying Christ by the way you live your life. Some people cease being an overcomer and give in to the test and succumb to fleshly desires. What kind of test will God allow us to face? Like Peter, the Lord may allow us to face direct challenges to our faith. The choices we make daily are preparing us for whatever God is going to do through us in the future. If it ever became illegal to be a follower of Jesus, and you were asked if you knew Him, would you deny Christ? If you think that is a fantastic or ridiculous notion, consider this; such persecution for faith is happening in many countries today. Whenever a government or regime comes to power that is in extreme opposition to the message of Christ, they will make Christians appear as a subversive group and working against the common good of the people. It is possible that taking a stand for your faith could mean intense persecution, loss of material goods, or loss of life. The early Christians experienced such things. Isn't that the kind of test that Peter the apostle faced?
Whatever trial the Lord allows us to go through, He is praying for us as He was for Peter, that our faith will not fail. The Word of God says that “he can save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25). We can be strengthened by this because we know that God hears His Son's intercessory prayers for us. Keith Thomas