“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” – Luke 22:31
God often compares His people to wheat in scripture. (Matthew 13:24) However when wheat is first harvested it’s not very useful. It has great potential to be used in many ways but there’s a problem. There’s a lot of bad stuff mixed in with the good stuff that would pollute and ruin those things that the wheat is meant to become. This is called the “chaff“, it’s the hard scaly outer covering of the wheat seed mixed with, broken stalks, leaves, grass, and other, useless trash. The word “chaff” literally means “worthless“. These things must come out before the wheat can be used to make anything good.
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” – Matthew 3:11-12
The process of removing the chaff begins with the “threshing“. The harvested wheat would be beaten and threshed with sticks to looses the hold of the chaff on the wheat. Then the beaten and broken wheat would be taken out on a windy day, perhaps before a storm, and tossed up into the air repeatedly. The winds would blow the loosened chaff away, as the pure and valuable wheat fell back to the ground. This is the “sifting“. Once sifted, the wheat is then, and only then, usable to make a bread useful for the edifying of the body.
Though most times, God does not send the hardships on us, He does at times allow them to befall us. Many times in life we will find ourselves going through trials and hardships that seem unfair and unbearable. We feel so beat down and wearied, as we cry out to God, “why are You allowing this!” The whole time unaware that we need the threshing floor to loose us from the worthless, filthy, polluted things that we hold so tightly too. Though it may be painful, if we ever hope to be useful to the body of Christ, it is necessary.
Then comes the sifting, the winds of change, the storms of life, and they begin to blow all that chaff away. Some cling to their chaff and are blown away with it but others or purified and return to the pile ready to be used.
“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.” – Isaiah 48:10-11
So when the trials and the storms of life come, don’t set you focus on the threshing and sifting, and morn. Let go and know that those things are just chaff. Instead, set your focus on the wheat and the bread to come and rejoice. God is purifying you and if you let go of the chaff He will be able to make something wonderful out of you, something that will be beneficial and good. Something that will help nourish and grow the body of Christ.
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” – 1 Peter 1:6-7