If from time to time the Lord shall permit Satan to sift his Church “like wheat,” let us remember that our great Advocate’s assistance in proper measure and power will bring to all who are loyal at heart the needed grace and strength for every temptation. He will not suffer such to be tempted above what they are able to bear, but with the temptation permitted will provide a way of escape. We must expect, however, that these siftings of the wheat are not only permitted but intended to separate some, and it is not for us to murmur or complain against Divine Providence in this matter. “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!” Even though those who are being “sifted” have been very dear to us, as St. Peter and the other apostles were to the Lord, it is for us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. – 1 Pet. 5:6.
On the other hand, while remembering the Scriptural injunction to “mark them which cause divisions… and avoid them” (Romans 16:17), we should not allow any bitterness respecting them to enter our hearts or to escape our lips or our pens, no matter what they may say or do against us. “See that no man render evil for evil nor railing for railing, but contrariwise.” Let us be like our Lord who, when reviled, reviled not again. As we see some going blind respecting precious truths which they once saw clearly, it will properly grieve our hearts for them. But we are to remember that the Lord’s Cause will lose nothing; that it is in the hands of the Omnipotent One, who is able to make all things work together for the fulfilment of the counsel of his own will – his glorious purposes. Would we smite the blind? Surely not! Then neither should we by act nor word be unkind to those who are “going out from us, because they are not all of us” – those who in this hour of temptation are being smitten down by the arrows of the Adversary because, from the Lord’s standpoint, not deemed worthy of the necessary succor. – 1 John 2:19.
The three important lessons for the Lord’s faithful to be sure that they have learned are these: (1) That meekness, humility, is of primary importance, not only to gain an entrance into the Lord’s family, but also to maintain a place therein. (2) That obedient faith, abiding trust, is an indispensable quality, not only for the eternal future, but also for the maintenance of our proper relationship to the Lord in the present life. Without it we would wander and be uncertain in all our course. With it we may abide in meekness under our Lord’s protecting care. (3) Love, the essence and sum of all the graces, must rule in our hearts richly, abundantly. A proper love for God will not only keep us very meek, very humble, very teachable, but will also give us great faith, great confidence in him and an attitude of heart which he will be pleased to guide aright. A love for the brethren will make us meek and gentle and willing to lay down our lives in their interest. If we know these things, happy are we if we do them.