Failure is an excellent teacher.
I vividly remember a period in my life when, as a devoted Christian, I could not “get it together” for anything. The principled life in Jesus Christ and the holy habits of the Followers of the Way, eluded me. I begged Jesus to rescue me as I spiraled into one of the darkest seasons of my life. Then, when He wasn't helping quickly enough, I writhed with anger. Why are You not helping me? You promise joy for mourning! Why won't You exchange it with me? This went on for months and months.
Looking back, I believe the Lord allowed this time for my greatest good and His greatest fame. Luke 22:31-32 talks about the Apostle Peter being "sifted," and I believe a similar set of circumstances happened to me:
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (ESV)
Failure was a crucial tool in the hand of God through Peter’s life in which he would then use him to “strengthen” his brothers. Once sifted, Peter would become even more usable. Why? Pride and self-sufficiency have no place in the Kingdom of God. It unifies our hearts with the Lord’s greatest enemy, Satan himself. So Jesus, in his deep love and affection for his disciple, purged him entirely. And highly interestingly, through Satan’s own pride and self-sufficiency. Oh the greatness of the mind of God! He knows all it takes is a potent burning from someone else’s trash to keep us from repeating it ourselves.
Sifting seasons teach us many things, but here were my main 3:
1. We desperately need God moment-by moment.
2. Our faith is based on facts, not feelings.
3. “Getting it together” isn’t the goal, surrender is.
Peter may have experienced a violent sifting, but make no mistake, he developed into a POWERHOUSE for his God. If you are in a season of sifting, keep seeking the Lord with all of your being, throwing yourself entirely on Him, and wait patiently until He says you’ve had enough. You can trust Him. He is faithful to us even when we’re not faithful back. Grace is not dependant on our performance, but Jesus’ work on the cross. He’s doing a marvelous work in your life, even if the pain seems more than you can bear. Failure was an excellent teacher in the Apostle’s life, and so it is for you and me.
Beloved, allow Jesus to “get Himself together” in you. That's why He came. Then go and strengthen your sisters!