A two part series
- Sifted – when God goes silent (and things go nutty)
- Surviving sifting and returning with a stronger faith – ready for ministry
For behold, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations and cause it to move to and fro as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least kernel fall upon the earth and be lost [from My sight] – Amos 9.9
Thank goodness that even while we are being sifted (moving to and fro in our faith) we will not be lost from His sight.
Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain,but I have prayed especially for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren. – Luke 22:31-32
This refers to the grain which is mentioned in Amos (above) and also indicates that (because of God’s power) the disciples will not fall away. The verse indicates that what is being sifted is their faith. God once said to me: faith is what you believe is true. So what is being sifted is a testing of what you believe.
After the sifting (the shifting to and fro through confusion about what we believe) the bible says we will return stronger than before – because the end result is a clearer faith, a determination to know what is true and to believe it.
I feel as though I have been through a sifting. It might help other people to read about my experience of it.
There are many things have kept me off-balance. For example: I’ve had a lot of revelation in the recent years, but I’ve not been able to make much sense of it. I’ve had a promise from God (with a fleece) which doesn’t look like happening, if anything things are going in the opposite direction. I’ve seen such incredible “mixture” in leadership (in the church at large) and I absolutely never expected to see that. I’ve heard directly contradictory teaching and differing theology. I’ve struggled to know who to listen to and what course to take.
To make matters so much worse, I have been unable to discern what is God and what is not.
All of this combined together (plus the inability to discern good from bad) has left me high and dry – and totally confused. I was going “to and fro”, trying to make sense of what is right and sometimes even trying to figure out what was real. Eventually I had to put disclaimers around everything that I thought was “God”. I couldn’t seem to take a step forward without wobbling terribly.
I was being sifted.
In the end I have had to knuckle down and decide what *I* believe is consistent with the bible. Me. Not what other people say is consistent, but what I believe is consistent. I can build my faith on other people’s “revelation” or I can build my faith on Jesus’ life as He modelled it and build it on the words of God that are contained in the bible.
As I took this decision to trust God’s words in the bible – just as they are with no extra teaching bits added. Things improved. As I took that decision to actively read His bible and abandon the stuff that isn’t in there… in that moment things changed for me.It’s too early to say the sifting has ended, but my “to and fro” has stopped simply because I have decided to believe in the one sure thing (God as revealed in His word) and to ignore everything else.