The Sifting of the Church

Herat, July 2005 – Afghan peasant hand threshing in a field near the town

By Will Graham Dec 10, 2020

Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, one of my favorite pastimes was searching for gemstones in nearby creeks. I would use an old colander that had served its purpose in the kitchen and had been relegated to a second life as a rusty outdoor toy. I’d dig the strainer into the dirt and then I’d shake it methodically, watching the grains of sand fall.

I’d keep shaking until all that was left were the larger rocks—and that’s where I would find the treasures. A billion grains of sand were irrelevant, but the rubies, emeralds and sapphires, their colors and textures, held a much greater importance. While wet dirt quickly slipped between my fingers, the rocks were steadfast and strong.

That passing childhood memory floated through my mind recently as I considered the state of Christianity today. The church as a whole is being sifted. Each of us—as followers of Christ—is as well. And while being sifted hurts, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Individually, our faith is being tested on a daily basis, whether it’s the coronavirus, civil unrest, lawlessness, the proliferation and affirmation of sin, or the perpetual anger and hatred all around us. 

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