If you live in the United States I also know this about you: you are either too busy or too distracted, or both. Therefore, at least to some degree you are missing what is most important in life: relationships.
I also know this about you: you likely do not read the scriptures regularly and/or deeply. When I say deeply, I mean this: if when reading the scriptures you do not see yourself in the Biblical characters and feel a sense of visceral conviction, you are either reading too fast or too shallow.
And if when reading the scriptures you do not sense that,
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow …. (Heb. 4:12)
… you are either reading too fast or too shallow. Or both.
Why do I say all this? Because I am convinced Jesus wants you to use this “Coronavirus time” to slow down, and get to know him better – and to do a little self-sifting, as well.
Listen to Jesus’ words to Peter on Jesus’ last night with his disciples:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)
Why did Peter need sifting? I think the answer is obvious: because he would not self-sift. In our Putting Green last week we made this observation:
He … makes me lie down … he leads me beside still waters. (Ps. 23)
The message is clear: God will first lead you to still waters. But if you insist *on staying wide open, He will lovingly … make you lie down.
In the same manner, if you will not self-sift, God will allow you to be “sifted like wheat.”
Is this “Coronavirus time” not sifting like wheat all of us?
Okay, so what would self-sifting look like? To start, make a list of all the busy activities that are filling your schedule, but not your soul, or your family’s soul.
Then stop them. Or at least sift some out.
Next, make a list of all the … stupid … TV shows and the … stupid … social network and electronic device activities with which you amuse yourself, but not your soul.
Then stop them. Or at least sift some out. (Obviously not college football)
(Amusement: To muse means to think, deeply. To amuse means to not.)
Then take this “Coronavirus time” to spend more time with Jesus. Read his word more slowly, and more deeply. You do have the time now, don’t you?
Talk to him. Yes, just as if he is sitting with you. Which he is. If this is new to you, or a bit awkward, Jesus understands. He will meet you where you are – if you will at least start.
Lastly, one of the most difficult and painful times in my life was brought on because I had refused over and over to self-sift. After weeks, perhaps months of whining and crying out to Jesus to, “Please fix this!” – I finally dropped to my knees and said:
“Jesus, please do not fix this until I have been sifted, so I can see what it is you want to do in my life through this. Please, do not change a thing until you have me where you want me.”
Do you have the courage to pray this same prayer?