Soul Sifting

By Matt Conner

Photo by Pixabay

I have a rather unromantic confession to make: The best day of my life was not my wedding day. In fact, it has nothing directly to do with my wife or marriage. It's not a magic moment, a party, or any celebratory moment either. The best thing that ever happened to me was losing it all on a normal day five years ago.

You see, the best day of my life was the day that I lost a job. It was a well-paying, high-profile job. It meant that I was somebody. It was the center of my identity, the source of my pride and the pedestal upon which I proudly stood. And on that wonderful day, I lost it all. Over the course of the next year, working random jobs of mowing grass and at a youth detention center, I continued the losing process: financial standing, pride, and even the will to live at one point.

One year to the day of losing that job, I was going nowhere but in debt, was completely depressed and felt there was no hope for me. The proverbial "rock bottom" was my forwarding address and I was there for about a month of absolute hell on earth. Relationships had gone sour. I was alone and lonely. I felt no love, no hope and no destiny for someone who had made a living telling people about the meaning of life and their eternal purpose in God. Now that same God was a distant entity unconcerned with my present disaster of a life.

But I was not alone in feeling alone. Apparently, it's a common place for those God has chosen to live, at least for awhile. At the famous last supper with Jesus and his disciples, Peter speaks up wanting to be the greatest in the kingdom and so willing to declare his devotion to his Rabbi. And Jesus responds with a stunning line: "Satan has asked to sift you like wheat" and that Peter would end up denying Jesus that very night.

And it happened, just as Jesus said. Peter denied he even knew his leader and friend and he ended up feeling shame. Such shame that he wept, lamenting over what had happened. One minute, things were great and he was willing to do anything and the next, he was broken over his own spiritual condition.

But I wonder if Peter would say the same. I wonder if that was the greatest moment of his life. There's something in the broken moments that remove all of the "self" and allow me to see life for what it really is. It was only after Peter realized he couldn't follow Jesus in his own strength that he became a great leader testifying of the life that Christ lives through us.

The same can be said for Paul, the apostle formerly known as Saul. His blindness made him see. Struck down on the Damascus Road, Saul was on his way to persecute more Christians and God had another thing in mind. It was in his state of brokenness that God was able to show him the true way of life. It is the path through brokenness, the sifting of the soul, that enables us to truly live. It is death that leads to life. Our attempts at being something for God are for nothing if we have not travelled the road of the broken. It is the path that Jesus walked and He continually calls us to do the same.