Have you ever gone through hardships in life that you didn’t really want to navigate? I’m sure you have because we all have.
Though trials and struggles are guaranteed on this side of heaven, so is the flourishing we will experience in the kingdom. Take heart; this is the process of God’s holy sifting and is a part of everyone’s journey.
Doors That Only God Can Open
God has been so gracious to me. Looking back, I have witnessed His goodness as I have traveled to other countries and preached to millionaires, presidents, senators, doctors, and lawyers. He has allowed me to achieve prestigious honors, such as being the chairman of the board of the National Association of Evangelicals (representing 45,000 churches around the United States), the chaplain for the Washington Wizards basketball team, and, more sentimentally, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden.
I have accomplished great things that I could never have done without God’s guidance, power, and kindness.
However, there is nothing on my life that isn’t already on yours. God has even greater things in store for you! You are about to go places and do things you never imagined you would. He will open all the right doors, anoint you, and take you down paths you’ve never thought possible!
The Sifting Process
Our lives are filled with ups and downs, from pain and disappointment to generosity and contentment. In fact, many of us will experience trials in the valley before we can embrace the advancements set before us on the mountaintops. This is so that we can prepare for the assignment we are called to embark upon.
These challenges are a sacred sifting; we can’t escape them, but they surely will strengthen us.
Sifting the Harvest
When a farmer is harvesting his wheat, he must take his crops through the sifting process.
As the wheat is picked, the farmer loosens the chaff from the edible part of the grain. This hard protective layer is there for a purpose: it protects the wheat during its development phases. However, once the crop has matured, it is no longer needed; therefore, it must be discarded.
Next is the chaff removal process, also known as winnowing. The farmer throws the wheat in the air, and the light chaff is then blown away while the heavier grain falls back to the ground. This separates the usable parts of the wheat from the unusable.
Saints, there are people, circumstances, and things in your life that God is trying to sift through. Maybe they served a purpose at one time, but for you to go where God wants you to go, these things must be sorted and removed. Perhaps these areas of your life were intentional for a past season you were in, but in the present, they can’t go where you’re going!
If you are wondering why you feel stuck, maybe you aren’t moving in the direction God has for you because you are unwilling to let some things go.
I encourage you to embrace the difficult parts of the journey, for it is in these times that you are being sifted in order to be harvested for heaven. When hard seasons come, don’t get discouraged; get excited! Because the more challenging the battle, the greater the victory!
God has a promise in store for you; His harvest is plenty, and His sifting has a purpose!
Protection For the Field
Job, a man who proved himself faithful during hardship, is no stranger to life’s sifting.
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’ Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?’”
Job 1:6-8, NKJV
Satan is prowling the earth, looking for any of God’s children who may break from the pressure. God, our Protector, reminds the devil of those of us who can stand firm in the winds of evil.
“So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.’ So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.”
Job 1:9-12, NKJV
Satan tried to set Job up for failure by testing God. So after this dialogue, Job lost his ten children, his riches, and crops, and He grew increasingly sick. Job went through hell. And do you know what his response was? He declared, “The Lord gives and takes away, Blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21)
You see, regardless of how powerful the devil is on earth, he still has a limit to how much he can torment us. God has placed a boundary around His children, which takes away from the power the enemy tries to ensnare us with. He has little authority when it comes to the holiness of God!
Brothers and sisters, may we step out and be the Jobs of this generation. May we faithfully endure the loss of relationships, jobs, and other things in our lives while still holding a heart of praise, declaring that the God we serve is still worthy of honor and glory!
Are you spiritually mature enough to proclaim that even though all hell has broken loose, you will bless the Lord at all times? Magnify the Lord, let us exalt His name, and watch how He cultivates our hearts and spirits.
Maturity in the Kingdom
Maturity in God’s Kingdom requires hardship. It relies on circumstances that will stretch our faith and grow our dependence on God.
And through it all, we can thank God because when our trials are over, we will come out stronger and wiser on the other side and at a place where our hearts will reflect the maturity of Christ.
Be encouraged, saints; being sifted is a sign that you have reached a level of maturity needed to walk through the scorching heat of the day. And when you praise God in the midst of your sifting, you are telling the devil, “I still believe in God. I choose to declare that He is mighty and good.”
Without the sifting of our old selves, we would be nothing but chaff, a hard shell. The harvesting process transforms and renews our lives in such a way that prepares a tangible means of provision to a hungry world.
It is a longing for meaningful sustenance, one that is looking for the Bread of Life.