Verse of the Day

"‘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.'"

~Luke 22:31-32

Today's Devotional Thought

August 12, 2010 by Wendy Foreman


How Will You Respond?

I recently had a conversation with someone about whether or not there are still Job experiences happening in the world. Does God still tell Satan that he can go after one of his children in any way he wants, but not to kill them?

Similarly, I often hear the question “Why do bad things happen to any of us?” I also have people ask questions concerning whether or not God causes all things or rather does he allow all things. This is a subject that we could talk about forever, especially if you have gone through a traumatic event in your life. Today, I don’t want to have a debate in this devotional, but rather, I just want to talk about these particular verses and how Jesus prays for us as we face our daily trials and shortcomings. And, we’ll look at how differently two of Jesus’ disciples responded when they were tried by Satan.

In today’s verses, Jesus tells Simon Peter straight up that Satan is going to come after him. The part that touches my heart is when Jesus tells him that He has prayed for him that his faith may not fail. When God created us, He gave us free will. He allows us to make decisions every day in our lives without His interference. He also allows other people the same privilege. Things that happen in our lives are often times poor choices on our part or someone else’s. In verse 34 of chapter 22 in Luke it says, “Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Here we see that Jesus not only told Peter that he will be tried by Satan, but He even told him how Satan would sift him. Peter had a choice to make that night when Jesus was betrayed and as much as Peter loved Jesus, he gave into the temptation and denied the very Savior he loved. Peter failed the test and we read in scripture how sad he was at the choice he had made. Peter rose up, though, after Jesus’ resurrection and become a powerful leader in the church. Yes, his faith was shaken but it was not destroyed.

Judas was faced with a choice that very night as well. He had been with Jesus and heard his teachings and saw His miracles. Judas walked with Jesus for 3 years, but that night, he failed.

You see, Satan went after both disciples that night. They both had a choice to make; they were personally responsible for failing the tests that were before them. How they responded afterwards, though, was very different. Judas saw the error of his ways and hung himself. Peter saw his mistakes and repented and went on to become a great pillar of the church.

We will all make mistakes and fail. But how we respond to our failure is what changes us. Jesus loves us in spite of our shortcomings and failures. He only wants us to repent and be better. Scriptures tells us that Jesus intercedes for us; he is praying for us. Let that sink in for a minute: Jesus the son of God is praying for us. He is praying that our faith will not fail when bad things happen.

When I think of the things that we face in this life, I choose to think of it like a parent with a child. We teach our children the proper morals and values. We love them and guide them through life. And, one day they will be on their own and will have to make their own decisions. We, as parents, trust they will have faith in themselves and in the Lord and that they will make the right decisions.

I think that God does the same thing. He knows what we will face and the decisions we will have to make. He knows that we have been taught the things of His word and have walked with Him, so He prays that our faith will not fail us when we are faced with temptation.

I don’t know that I have answered any questions today about why bad things happen to us. But, instead of focusing on why bad things happen, perhaps we should focus on how we are going to respond when bad things come into our lives. Because friends, regardless of whether we are responsible for the bad event, I believe that we are all responsible for how we respond to those events. No matter how crushing our circumstances, we have a Savior who is there for us and He loves us and feels our pain and heartache. Although we may not always respond the right way, whether it is because of the pain we experience or the hurt of broken relationships or illness, the great thing is that God is always there with open arms to lovingly forgive us and help us to move on.

Today if you find yourself in a situation where you have made the wrong choice let me encourage you by telling you that it is okay. Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and tell the Lord how sorry you are and move forward. The Lord’s mercies are new every morning… Great is His Faithfulness.

Memorize this verse today:

"‘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.'"
~Luke 22:31-32

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