“Will you pray for me?” my friend asked me the other day.
Fearing something terrible, I answered, “Of course I will, what’s wrong?”
She went on to explain. There wasn’t any earth-shattering horror in her life. No deadly disease, no financial mishap, no terrible loss. There wasn’t any BIG thing in her life. It was just…well, her life.
She went on to explain how unsettled she was feeling, how unsteady and unsure. How previous goals seemed unclear, and earlier dreams felt unmet. How a straight and narrow path now felt crooked and directionless. How the clarity of purpose she had as a younger person, now felt blurry and indistinct. How she just didn’t know what she was feeling, what she was supposed to be doing, where she should be headed – how she felt unnerved, unsure, uncertain...
“Oh,” I said. “You mean you’re feeling life queasy.”
“What?” she replied. “Life queasy?”
“You know, that feeling you get on a boat out at sea. The pitching and rolling just has you off-kilter. A little uneasy and uncomfortable. You can’t quite get your bearings. Except you feel this way about your life. Life queasy.”
She smiled. “Yeah, that’s exactly it.”
Do you ever feel this way?
Like a towel in a washing machine? All mixed up and disoriented?
It’s not a great feeling for anyone to feel, but especially for a Christian, I think. After all, we know the God of Wisdom and Purpose. We should have clear direction in our lives, we say to ourselves. We should have peace.
But we don’t – we feel distressed. We feel…shaken.
Today’s “Bible Pick ‘Ems” comes from the book of Amos, a prophet who knew a thing or two about being shaken up!
Surely Amos was a faithful man, a person whose life was devoted to God. But he was a simple shepherd and fig grower. He wasn’t the son of a prophet – not the son of a priest.
However, God had a purpose for Amos – a purpose that probably made him feel life queasy.
God took Amos from his homeland in the southern kingdom of Judah, and sent him to denounce the social and religious corruption of the northern kingdom of Israel. Amos obeyed God.
And though his message brought pronouncements of God’s judgment on Israel, it also brought the promise of restoration. Today’s verses bring a word of tremendous reassurance:
“For I will give the command and will shake Israel along with the other nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, yet not one true kernel will be lost.” (Amos 9:9)
Though these words were directed toward the nation of Israel, I think we can apply them to our lives. Sometimes God needs to do some shaking up. Sometimes He needs to “unsettle” us.
But always remember – God wants to redeem, not punish. He wants to purify, not destroy.
He wants to make us holy.
So God will always care more about our character than our comfort.
What can we hold on to when we’re being shaken?
The promise: The faithful will not be forgotten. True believers will not be lost.
God shakes those He loves.
“You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver.” (Psalm 66:10)
“I will bring [them] through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold.” (Zechariah 13:9)
“When in doubt, search God out!”