So, this is a picture of Emily and her Auntie Terra flying through the air at the Mall of America in Minnesota last week. Jason had to work in MN and in SD, so we went along for the ride. We have family and friends in each location, so we packed in a lot of short but sweet visits. The picture sums up not only our whirlwind week, but the state of my life right now. What’s that? You were wondering what the audio on this particular picture might say…Well, funny that you would ask! In order to get this great action shot of Em and her Aunt thoroughly enjoying themselves, I was indeed flying through the air backwards! The audio is of my guts churning and the fluid in my ears splashing about uncontrollably as I experienced vertigo the remainder of the day! There really is no need for a reminder never to repeat such Tom Foolery!
Anyway, the reason the picture sums up life right now, no, actually ever since I decided years ago to truly follow the Lord, is that it shows what John the Baptist and Jesus were conveying in the following passages:
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:11-12
- God showed me this scripture in college one night. I got stuck on the word “winnow” so in my study Bible there was a cross reference to the study note on Ruth 1:22. There it described the winnowing process, where during a certain time each day when there was a breeze, the winnower would take his huge fork and stab the wheat, throwing it in the air for the chaff to blow away, leaving only the pure grain at his feet. WOW is all I could think! A picture of God sifting my life of the things that aren’t necessary, just wanting the wheat at His feet, me at His feet, pure and simple, organic for His use…well, it’s rocked my world ever since. The idea of our lives being “thrown” into the air for purification is a control freaks nightmare! Believe me, I fought it for a long time, but what need does God have of a pile of chaff?
“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
- This scripture is from the last supper, and it’s in red font, so, you know what that means…my friend, Phyllis, in SD, shared this one yesterday at church. I love it because, unlike Job’s situation, Jesus outright tells Simon, who is Peter, that satan has asked to sift him. He forewarns him, though Peter is so bent on convincing Jesus (hello, it’s Jesus…as if He didn’t know…) he’s actually going to be faithful. Then, obviously, satan had to ask. He is subject to God’s sovereignty. Period. Then, Jesus tells Simon that He has already prayed for him, that his faith would not fail. Jesus is interceding for us all the time! Then, Jesus tells Simon that He knows he’ll turn back to Him, and once he does, to encourage everyone around him from his own experience. Let me just reiterate what the scripture does not say…Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But, I told him “No” because that’s not nice…or “No” because life on earth is supposed to be peachy…or “No” because that just might rock his faith…
I don’t know about you, but it seems as if satan might be part of the great sifting that is going on in the church. The sifting that is Jesus trying to find the pure wheat that will be finally left at His feet for His use. For His glory. And I can tell you first hand, though purification is definitely what I am experiencing and desiring, I still feel like I’m up in the air, flying backwards on a suspended chain link swing in the middle of the Mall of America!