When You Have Turned Around Again

2 04 2012

If you have someone in your life that your heart aches for; someone struggling, unable to land in a solid place, especially in their relationship with Jesus; then this is a passage that will make sense to you. You can substitute that person’s name for Simon’s in these verses,  spoken (tenderly, as I hear it) by Jesus in Luke 22:31-32:

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.

I think these two verses describe the struggle of someone who is walking a line: pulled to the left by all the deceptions of the world; unable to break free from evil’s gravitational pull to rise up for what is noble, right and pure; lovely, excellent and worthy of respect (Philippians 4:7-9). Oh how real that is: wrestling with temptation. You would think the Goodness of God would be enough to attract us; that the contrast would be obvious enough for someone to run from one towards the other, but it is not. Satan has his footholds, his hooks, and he is more than tenacious in his mission to “steal, kill and destroy.”

Jesus saw what was going on with His friend. Satan did not want Simon to live in the light and was determined to push Simon to the left of the line and crush his faith in Jesus. In response, Jesus’ words are so simple: I will pray that your faith will not fail.

Do you ever wonder how to pray for people? I do. Especially lately, I have really been listening to myself pray and sometimes my words don’t even make sense; and sometimes I over-think what is God’s part, what is my part, and then I find myself stumped on what to actually ask for.

I love the simplicity of Jesus’ words in this passage. It is a prayer for people who have had faith and might now only have a smidgen of it left; pray that their faith will not fail. That’s a good prayer.

I especially love the next part. I see Jesus looking directly into Peter’s eyes because it carries a bit of a challenge: “But when you have turned again…” how hopeful is that? How “assuming” is that? Jesus’ words are SO filled with anticipation. We have to have hope for people; we must pray knowing that the light of Christ is so much greater than the darkness. Don’t lose faith for the person you are praying for; can you picture them turning around?

“But when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”  I really love this too. There is no sitting around in the kingdom; if we are in Christ, we are living out the mission He calls us to. Get busy. In the parable of the “talents” three types of people are described (some who have been entrusted with much, some who are working with less) and the point is, everyone is engaged in the work, whether it appears to be a great big assignment or a small one. So when you turn around, and you will, don’t sit around.

Jesus knows Simon (Peter) is about to royally mess up. Peter is going to have a massive amount of regret for something super-dumb he is about to do and Jesus says these beautiful words: you are about to go through a really trying time and you won’t even know who you are. Remember who you are in me. When you find your feet again, use what you have learned and strengthen people around you.

Win. Win.

I have people I am praying for where these words of Jesus’ are completely fitting. They are walking a line right now, not really being who they were called to be. I am praying that this will be a sifting experience and through it all, they will not lose their faith. And when they turn…yes, they will turn…they will strengthen people around them; their footing will be sure; they will be a force to be reckoned with.

May it be so. Amen.

— Teresa Klassen



One response

2 04 2012
Bev Johnston

Thanks for these wonderful thoughts based on Jesus’ words, Teresa! It is hard to leave people in God’s hands, but that is what we must do. The testimonies I’ve heard through the years of how God answered prayers that had been prayed even decades before, have been an encouragement. I heard Beth Moore say that once prayed, our prayers are registered in Heaven.

So, even though it is difficult to not take matters into our own hands, it is much better to trust God to answer as He chooses. He will not force people, even though we wish He would, especially when we see them self- destructing. We want so much for them to walk in abundance, not in the crumbs of sin. Sometimes all we can say is, “Help, Lord!”

God bless you, Mike and your family! ~ Bev

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: