by Tad Lindley
A while back I was meditating on the book of Job and God spoke to me very clearly about it and about my own life. What follows is the text of that message in several parts. This is Part III. If I am able to convey to you what God spoke to me, it will have a powerful impact on your life.
In the book of Job, God asks Satan this puzzling question, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” The devil responds by telling God that Job is only serving him, because of the blessings. And so God gives the devil permission to take everything from Job. He loses all of his ten children, his respect, his possessions, and then his wife urges him to commit suicide. (Job 1-2)
Jesus brags on Peter
How many times have I considered the life of Job and thought to myself, “I hope that God never, ever has a conversation with the devil about me. I hope that he never even considers asking, ‘Hast thou considered my servant Tad Lindley?’” And it doesn’t make me feel any better to know that Jesus also bragged on someone who was far less perfect than Job, Peter. In fact, Satan demanded that he be able to sift Peter like we sift flour. And we also know that Jesus gave permission, for he told Peter, “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail thee not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31)
Peter, “I got this!”
Peter told Jesus, “Lord, I’ve got this! Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.” (22:33) And Jesus told Peter, “Actually, no you don’t. In fact before the sun rises tomorrow, you will deny that you even know me.” And so things began to unfold. Peter lost his hedge of protection and he fell flat on his face.
Peter messes up
Jesus was arrested at the evening prayer meeting. Peter followed him at a distance to the high priest’s residence where they began to try Jesus. It was nighttime and there was a fire in the courtyard of the house. Peter was warming himself by the fire. Somebody recognized him as one of Jesus’ disciples. And even though Jesus had prayed for him, Peter messed up. He denied being associated with Jesus. In fact it happened again, and again Peter denied that he knew Jesus. Peter was falling apart as Satan sifted him.
Jesus was watching
About an hour later it happened again! Someone said, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:59-62) Jesus was watching Peter and praying that Peter would pull through, but Peter utterly failed him.
But it gets worse. As if Satan himself was rising up in his twisted victory the very next line in scripture says, And the men that held Jesus mocked him and smote him. Jesus literally watched Peter crumple under pressure and then when he needed a friend to stand by him in his humiliation, Peter was gone. If Jesus had ever bragged about Peter, surely it was a huge mistake.
What if question 2 was about you?
Now let me ask you reader, what if God has bragged about you to the devil? You say, “No, but I am not good enough for God to brag about me.” Well, neither was Peter, but there we see Jesus watching his boy, praying that his faith won’t fail him, praying that the sifting of Satan will not be too much for Peter.
What if God has bragged about you and allowed you to go through deep valleys, allowed you to experience things that no one should ever go through? What if the devil stood before God at some time past and said, “They just serve you, because everything is going well. Let her husband walk out on her and she’ll drink herself to death!” Or perhaps, “He’s just serving you, because he has good health and a good job. Let him lose both and he’ll get so depressed that he won’t even say grace before he eats.”
How are you doing with it?
I am not trying to say that every trial in life is an attack of Satan, but most of us never know which ones are and which ones aren’t. But let’s just act as if whatever your trial you are going through might be a result of God bragging on you. How are you doing with it? Are you handling it like Job, who fell on his face and worshipped God or are you handling it like Peter who fell flat on his face and denied he even knew God?
Friend, whatever you might be going through right now, whether divorce, or a drug-addicted child, or cancer, or unemployment, can you tell yourself, “In the remote chance that this might be the result of God bragged on me, I am going to do my best to make him proud. I refuse to cave in like Peter did. No, in the face of my trial I will keep chasing God like Job.”
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.