As I was laying in bed the other day with a migraine and feeling lost, this is the scripture that God spoke to me.
And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
This is not exactly the kind of scripture I was looking for, but in our situation it makes sense. Lately everything has been falling apart. Everything hurts.
Inside I feel completely dead from the culmination of all that has been going on for the past 6+ years. I've only been saved for 2 years, but we were suffering long before we started down this journey in Christ. It seemed like it has all caught up to me. Years of living very poor with very high levels of stress that never go away. Years of feeling insecure and uncertain about our situation. Years of not knowing how we are supposed to walk at times. Years of feeling like I'm making things up as we go. Some days it feels like it's never going to end because well it's been 6+ years. It hasn't ended yet.
And yet we do hold on desperately to what God has promised us even though it seems so remote and distant at times. God is the only hope we have because without a miracle from Him, we have no life before us.
Neither of us can heal ourselves.
Neither of us have any capacity to work.
The days leading up to this latest breakdown, we had been praying and trusting God for a need and no money had come in, so I was scared and anxious. I cried so much the day before, it triggered a migraine that started in the evening and continued on when I woke up the next day. On top of everything else going on, it just seemed so cruel.
I guess this is what it feels like to be sifted by Satan. It hurts. It unrelenting. He's evil and wicked and trying to get me to turn away from God. Sometimes I have been mad at God.
While laying in bed I was also reminded of the story of Dan Baumann who was tortured in prison for 9 weeks. God sent him to this country knowing that he was going to be arrested and tortured for weeks.
Dan tells in his story,
"It was out of my hands, there was nothing I could do. Either God would do a miracle or I would stay there.
There was no sense of feeling God. I felt like God was far away. All I could really trust in was His character, and that His character would be true no matter what I was feeling and no matter what circumstance I was going through."
“I struggled with faith, ‘Was God with me? Did He love me? If God is good why would He allow me to go through this situation?’ And I remember one day I woke up, and I was done inside."Although the circumstances are much different, on a spiritual level we are at a similar place because if God doesn't show up, there is no way out. It seems I've asked the same questions and have also felt done inside too
And of the thousands of verses God could have given me to encoruage me, He gave me the one saying that Satan was sifting me like wheat. That's hard to hear to be honest because I have no idea if there is an end in sight. I have no idea how much longer this needs to go on for. Satan asked permission and God gave it to him. That's hard to swallow.
This part of the scripture is encouraging though.
"But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren"
I hope Jesus is praying for me that my faith should not fail because I feel dead inside. God somehow uses our brokenness to make us into who He wants us to be. It is after we feel crushed that God restores us and enables us to strengthen our brothers. I just hope that I make it to the restoration part! heh I'm tired. I'm done living like this.
Some people will not understand where I am walking right now and that's ok. I have found either people understand because they've been through it or they flat out just don't get it at all. Again that's fine. I'm not going to try to prove something to these people who don't get it. What we are going through is biblical and the things that Satan tries to use to destroy us, God can use to purify us.
God has invested in us and I'm believing that He's making this all work out for our good...some how, some way. I hope soon.
I am weak. I am helpless. I have nothing without the Lord's provision and grace on my life. I've even come to realize that our faith isn't even ours and it is a gift from God. How could I take credit for anything when it's Jesus who is praying that my faith should not fail?
I can't even begin to explain how trying this season has been for me. It feels like at any moment everything could fall apart. Given all of my health problems, I don't even know how I keep going at all. We depend on God for literally everything and it's been extremely, extremely difficult. I don't think most people could relate to be honest. And yet God has brought us all this way, for more than 2 years. However in the last few months, things have become even more difficult than before, which is horrifying to me. And yet God was saying to me, "Satan has asked to sift you". And God said ok. Again that's hard to understand for me right now. It certainly feels like we are being sifted and he's trying to destroy us. He is trying to steal everything from us to ultimately get us to walk away from God totally. The devil thinks we only love God because of the stuff he blesses us with, so he starts putting pressure on these things to see what we do. Ultimately he wants us to curse God and turn our backs on Him forever (read in Job 1:9-10).
Getting back to Luke 22, after Jesus said that Satan was going to sift him, Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
And yet Peter was not ready to do this. God knew that, but Peter didn't. Not long after he spoke those words, Peter denied Jesus three times. Temporarily his faith failed.
During this ridiculous season, just like Peter, I have failed in various ways and have had mental breakdowns several times throughout. Lately I've started to lose grips on reality. I've never been one who can handle stress well and looking back I also now understand why God chose to heal my adrenals. He knew I wouldn't have lived through this otherwise. For those that don't know, your adrenals glands make a hormone called cortisol that we depend on to live everyday and it increases in stressful situations. Trying to take meds to mimic that rhythm is extremely difficult and usually doesn't work.
The sad reality is many times we have to fail in some way before we can see our weaknesses. We may talk a big game when life is easy, but when the trials come, just like Peter, we could find ourselves doing the opposite of what thought we would do.
When Peter saw Jesus look at him after the rooster crowed (read in Luke 22:60-62), Peter was deeply troubled and wept bitterly. He finally recognized his weakness, his humanness and came to a place of repentance before God. What Satan used to try to destroy Peter, it actually ended up sifting Peter and bringing him into deeper intimacy with God.
Once we see God's grace and willingness to forgive us in our weak times, something inside of us changes that wasn't there before we "failed". We then feel compelled to help those who are in similar situations and let them know that there is hope in Christ.
And I do really like the last part in this verse. "...when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren".
After we have failed in some way in our walk and then see God accept us back by His grace, only then we really know how to support and strengthen others in their struggles. This is how God can use our failings for His glory. Our failings become a testimony to His faithfulness and our testimony encourages and strengthens others who have walked the same road as we once did. In addition, we gain grace for people who have "failed" in similar ways as we did and we can pour love out to them, guide them, teach them and strengthen them just as God did in our lives.
We essentially impart to people what God did in us, but we have to get out and come to a place of healing to do this.
This is what God shared with me while laying down with a migraine. God was telling me exactly what was going on here because things have been so dark. What Satan used to try to destroy me, ultimately, it is pushing me into answering the call God has on my life. I just hope I can continue on because I don't feel like I can. Please pray for me and my husband.