"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat." --ST. LUKE xxii. 31)
THESE words of our Blessed Lord, spoken in the first instance to one Apostle, have ever since warned, and still cease not to warn, each Christian soul.
For though an ordinary Christian is no conspicuous prey, like the College of Apostles, yet Satan deems him well worth a shake of the sieve.
The warning conveyed by our Lord's words is awful: for our "adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." A flesh and blood lion is appalling to human flesh and blood: how tenfold appalling is a spiritual roaring, devouring lion to man's spirit.
But the encouragement in those same precious words rings through and above the alarm they sound. "Satan hath desired" to have us: but of whom? Of Him to Whom we are as the apple of the eye.
And wherefore does he desire to have us? That he may sift us as wheat. We are certified as good seed by Satan's desiring permission to sift us: for whoever heard of his desiring to sift tares?
As to tares, Satan is quite satisfied so long as they grow unmolested, ripen, shed seed, propagate, flourish until the harvest.
Wheat only does he reckon worth his sifting: therefore whatever he sifts is wheat.