The older I get, the more I am aware of all the trials many people are facing in their lives. If you are human, then you are going to be facing problems off and on in your lifetime. I have hated many of my trials and wished they would go away! I haven’t had a good attitude at all when times of testing have invaded my life. I have learned that every trial that God has sent me hasn’t been to crush me, but it has been to mold me into who I am supposed to be.
I wish I would have kept better records of all the books I read on trials. I wrote this down from one of the books I read, “Satan can never hang on to the believer with the purpose of harming him, for that believer belongs eternally and irrevocably to God. Satan cannot possessively lay hold of us, keep us in a grip, or touch us in a way that will utterly destroy us. We may feel destroyed, but we are not! Christ will preserve us from Satan’s ultimate intent-our total destruction.”
I have made the mistake many times to believe that Satan had so much power. He is not bigger or stronger than God. God allows him to roam on the earth, but only with his permission. God is still in control. I am not defeated because I have the power of the holy spirit living in me. I needed to understand the power I had within me.
Because of the panic attacks, the biggest weapon I had to defeat Satan was filling my mind with God’s word and things I read from books. When my body was shaking and I was filled with fear, it was very hard for me to focus on God instead of how I was feeling. I had to tell myself that God was in control. I was a dwelling place for the holy spirit and I was not defeated. I tried to fill my mind with as much scripture as I could and I also talked to him all the time through journaling.
I knew I was being sifted. I knew that God needed to remove things in my life in order for me to move on in victory. The definition of sifting is “to put (flour, for example) through a sieve in order to separate the fine from the coarse particles.” In the Bible, Peter had to be sifted. In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus says, “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.” I knew that I needed to allow God to sift me. Satan had a sieve and God had a purpose. I was a lot like Peter. I had a big mouth that got me into trouble a lot; I interjected my thoughts and opinions without thinking; I was ready to fight the cause without consulting first; and I was relying on my own power and performance instead of God. But, God loved Peter despite his issues. He loved him for his commitment and passion and made him stronger through the sifting process. I realized that sifting is a necessary process if we want to be stronger in the Lord.
I journaled, “God, you have become little to me. You aren’t the great and magnificent God in my life that you should be. I have allowed fear and all the things that happened to me become bigger than you. When did that happen? How did it happen? I guess I slowly let everything consume me and allowed it to choke you out of my life. I know that is why you are sifting me. You need me to wake up and see how far away from you I am in my life. I thank you for doing this for me. It is very painful, but I know it is necessary for me to change. I want to cooperate with you. Help me to trust you in this process. I don’t want to live like this anymore. You are showing me what can happen when things aren’t dealt with. I want to have a open heart to you and I need you to guide me through this process.”
In her tabernacle study, Beth Moore talks about how God uses refining fire to change us. The fire used in the refining process removes impurities or unwanted elements from a substance. The visual picture of this process helped me to see all the scum was coming to the surface in my life. I knew it needed to happen because the scum was killing me inside. C.H. Welch says, “The Lord may not definitely have planned that this should overtake me, but He has most certainly permitted it. Therefore though it were an attack of an enemy, by the time it reaches me, it has the Lord’s permission and therefore all is well. He will make it work together with all life’s experiences for good.”
Refining and sifting are both painful but necessary processes to get rid of all the scum or impurities out of us. I felt like I was being destroyed when I went through the process but really I wasn’t being destroyed, the scum was being destroyed. It was so hard to face things and let go of areas of my life that needed to go. I look back now and see how necessary it was to go through the pain. God was there every step of the way to help me. I read these words during this process, “Amazingly, history’s most evil act brought about the greatest good of all time. God used the cross for good, in order to bring many to himself.”
God can take horrible things in our lives and turn them into good. For me, I needed to allow him to take my abuse and turn it into something good. I had to go through the sifting and refining process to get to the other side. I am telling you right now that the process hurt like hell. (If you know me, you know I don’t say that word very often) But, God used it to change me in so many ways. I encourage you to allow him to do the same for you. I am changed because of him! Won’t you allow him to do the same for you?
Until next time fellow sojourners!