Good Things Do Come in Ugly Packages
Remember Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends and disciple? He was a good Christian, confident, fruitful in his work and strong in his faith. Yet, at the last supper, Jesus warned his passionate friend saying, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.”
Jesus’ full words are recorded in Luke 22:31-32:
“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.”
This is the passage my pastor gently brought to my attention as tears streamed down my face at a coffee shop surrounded by rolling fields of wheat. Dean listened quietly as I lamented because no area of my life had been left untouched. In a matter of months the landscape of my health, my marriage, my career, my identity, and my voice had been obliterated. That’s when Dean said something profound.
God Allows Us to Be Sifted
Dean said, “See those fields. When harvest comes the wheat is sifted, and the chaff and other impurities are left behind while the desired product—the wheat—remains in the sieve. We believers are the wheat that remains. God allows us to be sifted, we become cleaner, more valuable and ready for use. You are being sifted.”
The process of sifting makes us stronger, better, and sheds dead weight so we can be the light-bearers of this world. The problems you face will either defeat you or develop you—depending on how you respond to them. It is critical to see that, while trials that come in ugly packaging may provide momentary set-backs to our visible progress in the faith, they are ultimately providing the fuel we need to get to our destination.
Looking back four years later, the trajectory of being sifted has shifted to the second part of Jesus’ conversation with Peter. “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
My faith didn’t fail. It’s flourishing.
Marriage: a deeper, tempered bond.
My career: a gospel-centered platform.
My identity: firmly rooted as God’s daughter.
My health: restored.
God often uses gifts wrapped in the ugliest packaging to change us. Who knew the manger, the cross, and the tomb were our gifts of salvation? Here are four unusual gifts God may send your way:
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Gift Habeshaw