The last day has been a really tough one not just for the events of the day, but for what it means for our future. I can’t go into specifics right now, but let’s just say that we are facing quite a big challenge.
If we look to Scripture we see that Job was the topic of conversation between God and Satan. Satan asked for permission to inflict misery and suffering on a great man of God, betting that Job would fall in his faith and deny God. As a result, Job lost everything precious to him, but even in his questioning and anguish, Job never stumbled or sinned. Later in the book of Luke, in a very personal conversation on the eve of the crucifixion, Jesus tells his beloved disciple, Peter, that Satan has been given the ability to “sift him like wheat”.
It is quite possible that sometime in the last two or three days, there has been a heavenly conversation about Greg and I. Another big thing looms in our future and I can hardly believe it.
We have already seen our share of being sifted like wheat.
I had cancer at 25 years old.
I had seven surgeries in five years, the last of which revealed a painful disease called endometriosis.
We struggled to have our sweet little boy.
Our house burned down.
We made a thousand-mile move away from friends and family to start a new life together.
In two and a half years in Colorado, we’ve struggled to find any personal connections and some very dark days here have seen us floundering on our own.
About a year ago, our house was broken into twice, as a result of a mis-placed trust in someone we thought was our friend.
We have seen our precious son struggle with sensory processing disorder, hypotonia, and a newly diagnosed auditory processing disorder.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, our finances took a major hit and we’ve been struggling to keep up and get ahead for the last two years.
My chronic pain has hit high gear and there are days and weeks when my body hurts so bad I can hardly see straight.
There are a few other situations which are too personal to broadcast, ones I share only after being sure that it is the right time and the right venue.
As I sat awake last night, praying, and talking to a dear friend, a few things became clear.
God has been, and will continue to be faithful to Greg and I, and our family. While that faithfulness doesn’t translate into being healthy, having enough money, or an easy life, it does mean that God is never far away and He cares intimately about our struggles.
I’m scared and I don’t know how this is going to turn out. We take great comfort in the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den because Daniel survived. We love the story of Esther because she wasn’t killed for her impertinence in going to the king and a nation was saved as a result. We forget that Daniel stood on the brink of the den of hungry and angry lions, not knowing that an angel was down there holding their mouths shut and that Esther cried out in very genuine fright and determination, “If I perish, I perish”.
I know that God has given me grace to walk the paths that He has placed before our feet. I haven’t always walked them well. I have failed and have needed to fall before God’s throne and beg for forgiveness. I know that I don’t want to have to do that this time. I want to leave worry, fear, anger, and depression in their place, which is far away from me. I want to rely on God’s strength, His timing, and His love for us. I want to be confident and bold in my faith.
If you read the entire exchange between Peter and Jesus after Peter is informed that he is about to be sifted, Jesus says this: “I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers”. It gives me great comfort to know that Christ himself prays for us. Prays for faith. Prays for strength. Prays that I can be a blessing to people in the midst of trouble.
Even though I not so secretly hope that the sifting process would end permanently, I hope even more that my life would have meaning, would have an impact, that I would be used for the glory of God. My prayer is that if you are reading this and are seeing some sifting in your own life, that you would be uplifted and encouraged.
Since, like Daniel, I stand on the edge of the lion’s den and don’t know the ending to this story, I am going to finish this with the words to a great song:
You Can Take Away
Waves will come, and winds will blow,
But it’s not here I’ve found my hope
My beating heart, my weary soul
Is held by one who won’t let go
And so I’ll cling, to You my King
You can take away, everything that I’ve been holding
You can take away the sun.
You can take away the very air that I’ve been breathing,
But you can’t take away my God