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The Great BUT

Jesus never promised that following Him would mean protection from all suffering. In fact, He clearly stated that if we follow Him, we must pick up our cross (Mark 8:34).  By saying this, Jesus was making it clear that we are to follow Him even when we face hard times.

Life has suffering. Some of our suffering is brought on because of our own poor choices. Some of our suffering is because Satan wants to use his evil reign sin brought into the world to damage us. This was the case for Peter. The night before Jesus was crucified and died, Jesus told Peter that Satan had focused his evil energies on destroying him.

Jesus warned Peter that Satan had asked to sift him as wheat. Now, I have no idea what it means to be sifted like wheat. The idea of being sifted wheat cannot be good. In Peter's case the sifting was a soul sifting, not a body sifting. His confident loyalty was going to be tested. His determination never to leave Jesus would be tested and he would fail miserably. This experience would totally transform the way he saw himself.

This is where the BUT comes in! Right after Jesus told Peter this He said, But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers (Luke 22:32). This is a huge BUT. This is the but that trumps Satan's plans. The but is Prayer! We face suffering, yes. But we don't have to face it alone. We have prayer. Prayer is the great un sifter of life.

Jesus was confident that even though Peter would be taken down by Satan's schemes he would turn back and then strengthen his brothers. The sifting by Satan did much to advance the kingdom. The experience of defeat brought Peter closer to the place of seeing that he was unable to love and serve Jesus the way he longed to. 

Never underestimate the power of prayer over the suffering in your life! Never forget the One who is praying for you. Jesus told Peter, But I have prayed for you. Jesus doesn't just pray for Peter, but He prays for you too! Romans 8:14: Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died---more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 

As you face the suffering that enters your life never forget the great BUT that will get you through.



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