Today ends a "sifting season" that has lasted over a year where I have come to bat and now struck out three times - in denial of My LORD. Oh, not in so many words did I deny Christ - but my actions and my choices denied His will for me and what I knew He desired in and for me. Yesterday, He showed me that if I made that same choice one more (3rd) time - His Presence would not go with me. That scared me so much. I even felt Him remove His Presence from me for a few hours. I hated the thought of it - let alone the action of that. The LORD has been so close to me and remains my Protector, Judge, Defender and Father.
I am thankful that He has more grace and more good things ahead as this has now come to its end. I've been examining the life of Peter and the other Disciples this week.
60 Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown Me three times." 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly. [emphasis mine]
I don't think that look that Jesus gave Peter when their eyes met was one of judgment or condemnation - on the contrary it was one of compassion and mercy - as Jesus' eyes may have said, "It didn't have to be this way."
Fortunately for Peter, the LORD had already told him what would happen and Jesus even knew that Peter would turn back in repentance. That's why Christ gave him the command, "when you turn back strengthen your brothers."
Luke 22:31-32 [Jesus speaking to Peter]
31 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
Oh, may our faith not fail us when Jesus prays for us in our own crisis situations. And may we remember to repent - and then strengthen our brothers with what He's taught us.
Have you been through a "sifting season" in your life recently? Then there was something that needed sifting. Let the Holy Spirit blow away the chaff and may only the whole kernels of wheat remain.
Turn on the oven - because now you are ready to bake the bread of life!