With regard to the methods which the Lord adopts his sifting process (for his people), we would first mention the Word. Oh, how searching and sifting is the Word of God! Who has not found it so? How it detects the latent principle of evil in the heart! The Word of God shows a man what he is- it rebukes, searches, and sifts him. Blessed is that man who knows what the siftings of God’s Word are; who is willing to have his principles and conduct tried by it, and whose ardent desire is, “Lord, sanctify me through Your truth.”
Sanctified trial is another mode. Ah, what a mighty fan is this with which God winnows His people! He leads them about, sends cross providences, dark dispensations, thwarted designs, blasted hopes, and the precious grain is driven about, wondering what will be the issue. Messenger follows messenger; bearing tidings of woe still more lamentable than the former, and the poor afflicted believer stands appalled, and marvels what the Lord means by all this trial and sifting. But oh, what a blessed result!
Seasons of trial are searching, sifting, and separating seasons. God designs by that trial not to wound you; oh, no! there is too much love in His heart to put you to needless pain; but to separate the precious wheat from the refuse- to scatter the chaff that has mingled with the divine grain, concealing and deteriorating it. Yes, many a child of God living much in the region of the world, and often, perhaps, yielding to its temptations, has been placed by God in this sieve. We have gone and wept when we ought to have rejoiced with him. He has come out, oh what a different character! What a higher tone it has given to his spirituality. How dead he seems to the world! He acts, and speaks, and prays like another man. Why? God has sifted him! The chaff has been separated, the storm has scattered it, and the image of God has been brought out in all its true beauty and power.