Praying “deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13) supposes 1) the evil one can defeat us, 2) God’s power can give us victory and 3) without His help we would fail. So why wouldn’t God always be there to help us? Why make us pray for His help, as if saying that if we don’t ask He won’t help us? Peter didn’t ask and was totally defeated by Satan when he denied Jesus 3 times. Why would God let that happen to people He loves and whom love Him?
For one thing, it helps us learn we need God’s help and to not presume upon it. Failure strips away our self-confidence. Never again would Peter boast about his courage. We see a new Peter from here on. He is broken, humble, sensitive to God’s leading and obedient to God’s will. Jesus knew about Peter’s coming fall, even predicted it, but He never prevented it.
God allows this to show us our sin and brokenness without Him. There’s nothing like hitting bottom to show us that the only way we can look is up! Such an experience can leave us stronger, like a bone often is stronger after a break than before. When we recognize and turn from our pride we are a much better, stronger person. Jacob’s limp reminded him to guard against sin. Peter did much more for Jesus after his fall then before it happened. Because of it he lost his pride, self-confidence, and rash impulsiveness. What he gains instead was humility, a new confidence in God and a determination to trust Jesus no matter what happened. The things he lost he didn’t really need. The things he gained he couldn’t have learned any other way.
When the Lord looks at us, He doesn’t just see us now, He sees beyond our faults to the real loyalty underneath. If Jesus’s hand picked number one man could deny Him, then none of us can claim to be beyond temptation. God is very patient with us. We need to learn to be patient with others.
Finally, all this helps us seek God’s grace in a greater way. None of us really understand grace. God is saying that he loves us no matter if we deserve it or not. God allows us to fall so we will be stronger when we get up. He loves us enough to let us fall, and He is strong enough to take us back up again.
(Written by Jerry Schmoyer, 2014. You can find more of his writings at http://www.christiantrainingonline.org/. If you have questions or suggestions feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org)