Luke 22:31, "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat..."
Are you being sifted? We, like Peter, have an Advocate with the Father. The sifting of Peter took to pride and arrogance away in short order. I cannot begin to imagine how he must have felt after the rooster crowed three times after he denied that he even knew Jesus. What horror must of overcome him; what terror and shame as he ran to cover his face! Like Judas, I feel that he contemplated taking his own life.
He had been so bold and brazen in his statements regarding his faithfulness to Christ. He even walked on the water! Is it possible that the sifting was necessary to remove the pride, arrogance, self assurance from Peter? If anything was going to do this for Peter, this must have surely done it. He finally realized that he was nothing in himself; he must be totally dependent upon Christ in all things.
Hosea 6:1-3 gives an excellent picture of this process that God uses from time to time; even on a national level. "Come and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He has smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. Then we shall know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth."
Hosea is saying "do not lose heart or hope!" He will heal for He has torn, or allowed the tearing, like Christ allowed Satan to sift Peter. It all serves a purpose, no matter how painful it is. And do not be deceived, it is very painful. But, it serves an eternal purpose. Hosea also says, "then we shall follow on to know the LORD."
We will know Him in a deeper sense; in a way that could not have happened any other way. "His going forth is prepared as the morning". God does not have to make things up as He goes along; it has been predetermined before the morning breaks what will happen to those who love Him. Never think that He is playing "catch up" on our behalf. Just as Christ told Peter, "after you have repented, go and strengthen your brethren."
We learn through the sifting. We learn about ourselves, the faithfulness of our God, and our total dependence upon God. We learn that no matter how far we think we have come in our knowledge or walk with Him, we will always be totally dependent upon Him. We learn that we cannot go by our feelings; He is always with us, praying for us and giving us strength and hope through the Holy Spirit residing in us.
Isaiah 30:28-30 is an excellent example of those of the nations who do not have our hope in God during the sifting, "And His breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err."
But what of us? "Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the Mighty One of Israel. And the LORD shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and show the lightening down His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones."
Just like a stream of brimstone sets fire to the rebellious ones, His mighty arm is just as capable to save those that are His. We are His! He is with us in the sifting process. Never lose heart; it is serving an eternal purpose. He who has promised to be with us until the very end is faithful and true.
This life is just a dress rehearsal for our station in eternity!