When You're Sifted As Wheat
"For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life." 2 Corinthians 1:8 There are times in our walk with the Lord when we are shocked at the intensity and persistence of the siege in Satan's attacks against us. You have to have experienced it to even come close to understanding that statement. Most never do because most are not a threat to the Satanic kingdom. Paul is making a statement here that is describing something only a true servant of God will ever experience, and that is that he went through something that burdened him "beyond measure" and "above strength." It brought him to the edge of death itself. The intensity of the siege against him cannot possibly be overstated. It was beyond him. vs 9-10: "Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death…" When one is called to go into the enemy's camp and take prisoners to bring them to Christ, the enemy is enraged and will fight with supernatural venom and try to destroy him. The fact of life is that he will come close. He will almost succeed. We are no match for him. He is a fallen archangel. A destroyer. He will bring you to the point to where you will "despair even of life." God will seem distant. You will feel abandoned. "Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat." Luke 22:31 When Satan is allowed to sift one as wheat, that person is going to feel abandoned until it is over. It happened to Peter, it happened to Paul, and it happened to Job. For no sin, for no failure, but because Satan challenged God concerning these righteous men. So they were sifted as wheat. Cut off from God, or seemingly so, not able to hear from him. But Jesus continued: vs 32: "But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren.” There is purpose in our trials. Though Satan means them to destroy us, God uses them to mature us. No believer serving God will be exempt from trials because suffering is the way to maturity, and reaching maturity is only reached through the crucible of suffering. “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ;”
1 Peter 1:7 "But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10 That is not the end of the story. Satan tried to destroy Peter but God brought Peter through and Peter went on to turn the world upside down. Satan tried to destroy Job but God brought him through, and God restored to him double of all that he had lost. Satan tried to kill Paul, but God brought him through and Paul, while in prison, went on to write a large part of what is now called the New Testament. "'For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,' says the Lord, your Redeemer." Isaiah 54:7-8 Take heart embattered saints, the siege is allowed but will be over, and then the Lord will restore you with great mercies and with everlasting kindness. And you will go on to turn the world upside down.