Jesus knows the idols and illusions to which you are still clinging, and he knows the baggage that is still clinging to you. And, he knows you will not give them up easily. Often, you don’t even see the harm they are causing.
So, as a favor to us—yes, a favor—Jesus allows trials and troubles to sift us. He uses trials to shake us up, so we can wake up from our cultural stupor. Jesus is not doing this to you; rather, he is working through the brokenness of this world to accomplish something far greater in you…if you will let him.
Picture this: There you are, covered with all sorts of negative thoughts, false illusions, and silly idols. God the Father allows you to be put into a sieve, and the sifting process begins. Uh oh. You’re being bumped around, and it hurts. “I don’t like this, God!”
But look…an idol just got sifted and fell off. And there…a bad habit and a negative emotion you’ve been harboring just shook off. Yes, that false bravado and foolish pride finally tumbled away. An illusion that “I think I have to have to be happy” is now gone. And another persistent lust just fell away.
There goes a control issue and a bit of your ego, even that unpleasant competitive streak, all sifting off until you are free. And typically, the last to sift away: “My claim to my right to myself.” (Oswald Chambers)
And finally you are free. At last you can see.
Job, who was described by God as “blameless and upright,” had this to say after his own sifting experience:
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5
Yes, the before Job was a righteous man, but the after Job was a man who was free, and could finally see the one true God.
Is this new clarity—the ability to truly see with the eyes of your heart—and freedom, worth the painful sifting?
Peter, Job, and many of us would shout out, “Yes!”