When Jesus said to Peter,
“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)
He was warning Peter about the trial to come. But more than that, He was encouraging him, informing Peter that He would keep him safe. Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail!
So, here’s the question: When we suffer, when we are discouraged and confused, who is responsible for making sure our faith doesn’t fail? After all, faith is our lifeline, our means of connecting to God. Who protects it? Whose job is it to keep our faith strong? Our natural inclination is to believe that we must work harder to keep our faith strong. We have to tell ourselves to believe. But is that true?
In Peter’s situation, Jesus prayed that his faith would not fail. Maybe you think that Peter was more important to Jesus than you are. Is that true? (Hint: What did Jesus teach about “the least of these, my brothers”? – Matthew 25:40ff) Do you think that Jesus, the One Who promised,
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:39-40)
… would somehow fail to pray for your faith?
And how did you get your faith? Did you work it up? Did you “squinch” up your face and ball your fists and hold your breath? Or was your faith given to you by God?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
By the way, when God gives out gifts, batteries – rechargables – are included.
The toddler is going with his grandfather, down to the soda shop to get a cone of mint-chip. As they get ready to cross Main, Grampa holds out his hand and says, “Hold onto my hand and don’t let go.” Hand in hand, off they go, picking their way through a break in traffic. Whose job is it to make sure the child is still holding on?