Sifting Season

 

5 Best Flour Sifters For Your Kitchen

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. – Luke 22:31-32 NIV

 When I first started baking—back in the dark ages of kitchen technology—almost every recipe that called for flour required that it be sifted. So when I furnished my first apartment, I bought a neat little avocado green sifter. And I used it, too.

Nowadays I don’t even own a sifter. Not because I don’t bake—well, I bake sometimes—flour just doesn’t need to be sifted anymore. It’s missing the lumps and the extra protein, a.k.a. bugs, that were once reasons for sifting. Plus the compacting that occurs when flour is handled and stored (in my case, for long periods of time) isn’t the problem it used to be.

Our modern flour caters to our hurry-up lifestyle. Anything that eliminates a step or two and shortens the process is the way to go.

But even with modern flour, sifting still can be beneficial. It separates and aerates the flour particles so they absorb better the liquids called for in the recipe. And sifting gives the flour a silky texture, fluffy and light.

Like flour, we, too, need to be sifted. Modern times have increased, rather than decreased, the need to separate the good stuff from the bad. Life’s rough handling leaves us with lumps of pain and confusion, and the bugs of an increasingly godless culture infect our minds, hearts, and spirits without us being aware of it or wanting it to. Overcrowded schedules press us down, leaving us helplessly wedged under the weight of too many commitments and too little time.

So every now and then we enter what I call the sifting season—a season of trouble, of heartache and pain, of problems with no answers and seemingly hopeless situations over which we have no control and which don’t make any sense to us.

Discouragement and doubt settle in for a long, unwelcome stay. We pray, but the ears of Heaven seem closed. We ask, but don’t receive. We seek, but can’t find. We knock, but the door remains shut tight.

Like the psalmist, we weep in despair, “Why have you forgotten me?” (Psalm 42:9).

But God has not forgotten us. He has allowed this season for a purpose: to sift us like flour, so that our lumps of stubbornness and selfishness are broken up, the bugs that have contaminated our very souls are removed, and we absorb better the truth and wisdom of God’s Word. It is during these times the wheat is separated from the chaff as we learn what’s really important and what we can do without.

The sifting takes time, for the life of faith is not a hurry-up lifestyle. There are no shortcuts to holiness.

But, like all seasons, the sifting season will come to an end, and we’ll have the texture of a more mature Christian—silky, fluffy, light, and free, and much better able to be used in the recipes of God.

Why are you downcast, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. (Psalm 42:5).

Read and reflect on 1 Peter 1:3–9; Psalm 42

 © 2012 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Wanna Get Away?

 

Mount Horeb
Photo courtesy of Getty Center [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
He traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. –1 Kings 19:8 NIV

Twice in my adult life I ran away from home. I just needed to get away by myself for a while and hide from the disappointments, ongoing issues, life pressures, and perceived failure that had driven me to an all-time low. The issues, I knew, wouldn’t magically disappear when I returned, but a time-out, I hoped, would refresh, renew, and restore my energy, enthusiasm, and dreams.

The first time I went to my brother’s home in Alabama for a week. There I read, rested, ate nutritional food (the only kind they keep in the house), prayed, and rested … oh, wait, I said that. But resting my body, mind, and soul were vital to recovery, restoration, and renewal.

The second time I fled to a mountain cabin that was a special place when I was growing up. Now owned by close friends, the cabin is a healing place. There I rested, sat on the porch swing and listened to the wind in the trees and the birds squawking, put together a jigsaw puzzle, read, and ate microwave meals because I didn’t want to cook. After only three days, I was ready to return home.

The thing about running away: there’s something you’re running away from and something you’re running to.

I wonder—when Elijah fled Queen Jezebel, did he consciously set out for Mount Horeb?

Also known as the mountain of God, Horeb, better known as Mount Sinai, was the place where God called to Moses out of the burning bush with a challenging assignment and where, not too long after, He gave Moses the Ten Commandments. And it was here He met Elijah.

He was gentle with his overwrought, exhausted servant.

Exhaustion affects us not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Exhaustion skews our perspective and judgment. So God addressed Elijah’s exhaustion first by giving him rest and refreshment.

Then He asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Note that when Elijah answered God, he magnified the problem and minimized the good. Isn’t that what we tend to do when we’re exhausted and overwhelmed?

Then God gently corrected him, instructed him to return to his ministry, and gave him a helper.

Notice what God didn’t do:

  • He didn’t desert him.
  • He didn’t chastise him for lack of faith.
  • He didn’t tell him to man up.
  • He didn’t preach a sermon.
  • He didn’t tell him that things weren’t as bad as he thought, that he had a lot to be thankful for, that he should be ashamed of himself . . . yadda, yadda, yadda.
  • He didn’t release him from his calling.

What God did do was nourish him, sustain him, counsel him, and instruct him.

Just as God met Elijah at his point of deepest need, He’ll meet you at yours.

What are you running from? Who are you running to?

Where is your Mount Horeb?

Thank You, loving God, for meeting me at my point of deepest need. Amen.

Read and meditate on 1 Kings 19:1–18.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.