“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.”
Jesus knew Simon Peter's heart. He knew that as the religious leaders arrested Him, the disciples would flee in fear. And He warned Peter that he would deny his Master three times (Luke 22:34). Yet God was sovereign even over this awful moment. Jesus prayed for Peter's faith to weather this storm of doubt and denial. By telling Peter this in advance, Jesus helped equip him to believe, even in his worst denials. Peter would "turn again" to Jesus and be used to strengthen all the disciples, for really their fear made every one of them a traitor to their Lord.
Jesus loved, forgave, and encouraged Peter, knowing full well the faith crisis that would lead to Peter's denial. His grace forgave even that offense in advance. His love reached out well before His disciples fled to encourage and strengthen them so that they could survive and serve again. "He remembers that we are dust". And in faith's broken frailties, Jesus knows our every weakness and strengthens us beyond them so that as Satan sifts us, we can still stand again.
I may fall, but I want to stand again! Every time I selfishly turn to my sinful desires for satisfaction, whether it is pride, anger, self-shame, or giving in to a sinful lust my heart wants, I sin and run from You, denying Your Lordship. I'm so wrong to do so. I'm sorry for my sin. I always need Your grace and mercy on me, a sinner. I see here that You always know well in advance when I am going to struggle and deny, and I know You don't want me to fall completely, so please... keep Your Word and Holy Spirit active in me, making me miserable in my sin and tugging at my heart so that I turn again to You!