The Threshing, The Crushing, Gideon, and Me
I used to travel a lot for work. I spent many hours in airports and planes. Inevitably, there would be times when upon arrival to the airport the plane could not land – just yet – or had to taxi and wait for the receiving gate to become available. For those of us who have spent hours on a plane, there is an excitement, anticipation, of landing and finally being able to stretch your legs and exit the confines of an airplane. When you must stay seated and WAIT, your back starts to scream to be stretched and your cramped legs want to move.
The Holding Pattern
Argh! We don’t want to circle around the airport or sit on the plane a minute longer than we have to. “Please, just open the door and let us walk to the gate!” Of course, we can’t just walk across the tarmac, it’s not safe. So, we sit and wait. Patiently, or impatiently, we must wait.
This is life sometimes.
We see the goal, but we can’t reach it. The timing of reaching our destination is beyond our control.
I can be a headstrong woman sometimes. I am a “doer.” I see something and I will work for it. I strategize and make contingency plans. Patience is a fruit that is still being cultivated in me. I have also formed an armor of independence; I’d rather do it myself than wait on someone else.
My reasoning was that I didn’t trust people to follow through. I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment. I didn’t like the feeling of not being in control of if, and when, something was going to be done. Are there any other control freaks reading this?
I have come to the realization that “control” and “perfectionism” are the products of fear.
Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this, I promise.
“Sometimes we create our own troubles, and sometimes it comes from the outside beyond our control, but more important than what led us in, is the lesson we learn when we come out.”
Let’s Look at Gideon. You can find his story in the Bible starting at Judges 6:11.
Are you still with me? Good, hang in there.
What is threshing?
Threshing is the process of separating the grain from the stalk and from the chaff that covers it. The grains are trod (or beaten) from the stalk, then the straw is removed, and the grains are winnowed to remove the debris. During the winnowing, an air current blows away the light weighted waste and leaves behind the heavy grain particles.
Threshing is usually done on a plot of land called the threshing floor (a flattened or paved surface). This was before modern technology. Winnowing happens after the threshing process. It requires ventilation; a gentle wind blows away the chaff, and the grain is left in place.
We first meet Gideon when he is threshing wheat in a winepress. A winepress was a square or circular pit carved into rock in which grapes were crushed.
You might be wondering why he was threshing wheat in a winepress instead of on a threshing floor. Certainly, it would have been easier on a threshing floor. At the time we meet Gideon, Israel was in a desperate state of affairs. Because of their disobedience, God gave them into the hands of Midianites, and the Midianites would destroy Israel’s crops, take all their sustenance, and their livestock. So, Gideon had to thresh the wheat on the D.L. (Down Low).
Here is Gideon, the least of the least, no doubt that he was frustrated and tired, and in the middle of circumstance that he had no control over. He was working with what he had to work with and probably feeling like he was getting nowhere. Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever felt like you should be out there in the open threshing floor, doing what you want to do, moving forward, setting and reaching goals, enjoying life, and instead of everything falling in place you are in a place of crushing? You don’t feel the gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit blowing away the debris of troubles (you know, the surface stuff). Instead you feel the crushing, the pressing, because it’s not the light surface stuff anymore; it’s what you are holding on to, what you fear to let go of, that is being extracted.
It’s difficult to be transparent in my writing sometimes. It’s much easier to write about the struggle after the victory, but we are living in hard times and if I want to remain true to my calling then I must be honest when I write. I wish I could say I have no struggles because I am “so spiritual, don’t ya know” and my every step is of faith and I never struggle, stumble, or question. But that would be a lie. We ALL have our struggles. The good news is if we stop fighting and quiet ourselves, then His Holy Spirit will gently blow on us and soothe the crushing, because the crushing must happen.
As I was reading this morning, a verse jumped right out at me.
Please do not depart from here until I come back to You, and bring my offering and place it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you return.” -Judges 8:18
(Click HERE to read the back story.)
Dear Reader, God knows the end from the beginning. He was not in a panic. He didn’t tell Gideon, “No, I can’t wait. Sorry, got no time for that.” He waited.
We are the ones who panic. We are the ones who get impatient.
“What, Jesus, You want to take me to the winepress and press off the “mind-set” and the “stuff” I have accumulated? Nah, I ain’t got time for that! Can’t You see me shadowboxing here in the corner? Can’t we just bypass this crushing business until I am comfortable and where I want to be? Then we can deal with this “stuff” inside me.”
No, my friend, it’s not God who gets in a panic. It’s us.
What if when we say we are “waiting on the Lord,” it is really Him waiting on us?
What if our doubts and fears are the chaff?
Sure, the wind can blow the chaff away, but if I’m being honest, until He places me in the winepress and allows the crushing, perhaps I could be blown away with the chaff. The Bible has something to say about this, it’s called double-mindedness.
Gideon was right where he needed to be, and so are you, my friend.
Let the chaff of your doubt and fear be thrown out. May the crushing reveal the faith buried inside of you so when you step out of the press you will be strong in His strength and on a firm foundation of believing His promise. Remember, our Lord knows the end from the beginning. He is not in a panic. He waits.
If you feel you are at the end of yourself, and no matter what you do it’s not getting easier or better, and if your family and friends have deserted you, and if your safety nets are no longer there, and it’s a do or die kind of season, then rejoice! Because you are perfectly positioned for God to do a miraculous work in you. Stop resisting and fighting Him.
If you read Gideon’s story, then you know God took a fearful man who was the least of the least and made him a fearless warrior.
I have felt like Gideon, the least of the least, and so small and insignificant. There have been times when I have been so filled with fear and doubt that I was frozen in place. All hell was breaking out around me and no matter what I did it only made matters worse. I based my decisions on fear, afraid of losing what little remained. It took the stripping away of everything to finally see that everything I have need of is with me and can only be found through a God who loves me and calls me His. I understand why Gideon was hiding. I understand why Gideon set the fleeces out. I understand the fear that causes us to doubt ourselves and what we are hearing. God didn’t get impatient with Gideon and He wont get impatient with us.
Are you experiencing the crushing? Won’t you leave a comment below and let’s join our prayers together so when you come through to the other side you will come forth as gold.
“But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I will come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous]. Job 23:10
Be Free & Stay Free