I WATCHED HER turn the handle on the old sifter as I had many times before.
My wife is a young woman who cooks the old way. And yes, she still sifts flour. “Cake won’t turn out right if you don’t,” she says. Some cooks have given up sifting since lumpy flour and extra protein (bugs) aren’t normally issues anymore. Sifting is painless for the flour but tiring for the one cranking the handle.
I’ve discovered some things that seem unnecessary really are-if you want the cake to turn out right. Peter was about to be sifted, and Jesus warned him; Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. (Luke 22:31-32)
According to his testimony, Peter was ready to be imprisoned and die for Jesus-but he wasn’t. Jesus tried to prepare him for the sifting, but he thought everything was under control. So Jesus burst his confidence bubble with news he would deny him three times. Sure enough, when the chips were down, Peter failed.
Satan sifted but God used it to form Peter into more than he was. Proud Peter became humble. Fearful Peter gained courage. Lumps were smoothed and unhealthy attitudes removed. But not before doing the unimaginable and enduring a look from the one who would die for him.
God sifts us and sometimes uses Satan as the instrument to do it. But God, not Satan, controls the intensity and length of the sifting. The enemy can’t proceed one millimeter beyond God’s determined measure. God’s sovereignty provides the knowledge of just what and how much is needed to get our attention and move us where we need to be.
Overconfidence, stubbornness and lack of complete trust have caused God to crank the handle a few times in my life. When I endured patiently and learned the lesson, life improved, rebellious lumps were crushed, and faith grew stronger.
God sifts because God loves. Let him remove the lumps hindering your faith journey.
Prayer: Merciful Lord, may we endure Your sifting with joy instead of reluctance.