It was cold, but I didn’t care. I was watching a hockey game with my then fiancé, now husband, and even though there’s not an athletic bone in my body, my heart was full because I was with him. As the puck slid across the ice, I heard the crowd start yelling, “Sieve! Sieve! Sieve!” I was clueless. “What are they saying? And what does it mean?” I asked Dustin. He explained that the offensive team was yelling, “sieve,” in an effort to psych out the defending goalie because a sieve is a kitchen tool that lets an object through (i.e. a puck). According to Webster’s dictionary, a sieve is “a kitchen tool that has many small holes and that is used to separate smaller particles from larger ones or solids from liquids.”
Well, sometimes it appears that God has a metaphorical sieve that He uses in our lives to separate what’s important from what’s meaningless. There may be times when He does this at a deep, personal level. There also may be times when He does this at a universal, mankind level. And because He’s God and is the most wise and efficient multi-tasker, there are times when He does it at both levels simultaneously.
You don’t have to be a “news person” to realize our world is changing. Rapidly. It’s getting darker, scarier, and less secure. How have you processed the increase of insecurity and unrest? I find myself faced with two processing options: ignore it or face it. Ignoring it is the “easier” option, to a certain degree. I just turn up the music of “my” neatly ordered life and move forward. I keep myself busy, plan activities, avoid the news at all costs, and turn my focus on maintaining control of “my” imaginary kingdom. But that takes hard work and I’m honestly not sure the volume button of my soul can reach a decibel high enough to drown out the imminent reality of what God is allowing to unfold in our world, our nations, and our communities. Option number two is: face it and, I’ll add now, let God use it.
Our world is less secure and we’re going to try to hold onto something. Let’s not be afraid to look at what that something is. God could be using this period of time to show us, to show me, that what we’re holding onto is a “smaller particle” that is going to pass through the sieve. Instead of freaking out, and I’m talking to myself as much as you, let’s confess our sinfulness of putting anything else in God’s rightful place and repent. Let’s invite God to sieve our lives and pray that He would help us cling only to Him, and draw our strength and wisdom to handle these trials from our salvation in Christ and our relationship with Him.
The Next Step
The next time we read something scary in the newspaper (or on our mobile device) and everything inside us wants to add three deadbolts to all of our doors and never leave our houses again, let’s stop, repent of that thinking, and cry out to God, “How do You want me to think about this? What do You want me to do? Please, please, please help me trust You and still reach out, still be vulnerable, still serve at my church’s community outreach event. Help me be wise, but help me still love. Even if it costs me my life. Because I’m remembering that You, Lord, have helped me see that even my life is a “smaller particle” that might pass through the sieve as I follow You.”
The apostle Paul knew this kind of thinking.
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:22-24 NIV
Is this easy? No. Following God isn’t easy. It’s often hard and scary but at the same time, safe and secure because He is the only One who will never pass through the sieve and He is good, just, and loving. When we keep our minds on His perfect character and put our trust in Him, we are secure.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV
The truth is, at a universal, mankind level, God is getting our attention. And at a deep and personal level, we have to decide if we’re going to listen to Him.
Questions for Reflection
1) How is God getting your attention through the events happening all over the world?
2) What are some of the things you’re holding onto that God may be using His sieve to eliminate in order to change what you value?
3) Do you have a relationship with Christ that will enable you to endure potential trials in your life?