"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. Luke 22:31 (NIV)
This week has been difficult. Many of the people I met with poured out enormous hurt and pain. Whether it was due to the failing health of a beloved parent, a promising career that been derailed, a rebellious child who knows the truth and refuses to obey, they all came with the same message saying sometimes it feels like too much. Sometimes it feels like they can’t do it another day, go to another appointment, or make another trip to the school.
It is the responsibility of the biblical counselor to direct the hurting soul toward the Word of God when they are feeling discouraged or dismayed. The Bible gives the obvious answer: look to the One whose promises are sure, whose power is unsurpassed, whose wisdom is eternal, and whose love is infinite. We must encourage them to look to the provision of our heavenly Father, through our Savior Jesus Christ, and the promises of Holy Scripture. Remind them hope is found in God alone.
Jesus told Simon Peter that all of him would be sifted like wheat. Remind the counselee there are times when we too are being sifted like wheat, and there are times when in the midst of the sifting we are called upon to reveal Christ in us to others. All our days, good and bad, easy and difficult are to be lived with the Lord's intention in mind. There is always more at stake than whatever makes up our trials and adversities. What is at stake is the proof that our faith will not fail (Jude 24).
When we are in the thick of it, remember that Christ is praying for you (Romans 8:26), and your faith will not fail. It will strengthen and hold. And Christ will make it possible for you to strengthen other believers because of your experience (2 Corinthians 1). That's what I truly believe.
I am thankful for the difficult experiences I have had in life, because I believe others are emboldened by my walk of faith. I believe that each experience I've have had as brought me closer to Christ because I have chosen to cling to Him in the midst of them. God is glorified when we recognize we are helpless and dependent on Him, attempting nothing in our own strength. We are to cling to Him without always knowing the next step. It is enough we know the end of the story- our story. Our story that ends in glory.
When you feel ground into dust by your circumstances meditate on the words of Psalm 46 --
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
I pray that you find Christ to be a refuge in the center of the storm. Continue to draw near to Him and just pour it all out to Him. He is a very present help in time of trouble.