” The quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise.” —- Jerry Sittser
Chapter 3 of Ruth tells of her trip to the threshing floor. It was night. She was alone. She walked into the unknown, plunging into the darkness in hopes of a sunrise.
The threshing floor in ancient Israel was generally on a high place surrounded by a low stone wall. The floor was often where bedrock was exposed. The newly harvested stalks of grain were spread on the stone, then crushed, breaking open the husks. The husks were tossed into the air allowing the breezes to blow and separate the chaff (the part of the stalk not good for food) from the kernels of wheat and barley. This was called winnowing. Until the winnowing process was complete, separation of wheat from chaff, the grain was not ready to provide nourishment to the body.
Sounds like a painful process for the wheat.
There is a threshing floor experience for each of us, a time when God calls us to turn loose of things that are often familiar yet are hindering us from being all He wants us to be. We cling to those things as if they are necessary for our lives, feeling we simply cannot live without them.
The threshing floor, then, becomes a place of separation and also surrender. It is risky to go there, and it is dangerous. It is also necessary. We will not leave the same as we came. The wind may be a breeze, or it may be hurricane gales. It is meant to strip away what is not fruitful in our lives. After all, offering nourishment to a dying world is part of our purpose.
I’ve had my threshing floor experiences. God reminded me I was holding on to what I thought was my security, things and relationships, when He wanted me to cling to Him only. As painful as it was, it was a turning point for me. I had nothing left but God, but I found out He was enough.
Ruth went to her threshing floor only after she had discarded her widow’s garb, that which had become her identity. She came in humility, nothing in her hand. She came with the intent to lay down her life and her future before Boaz.
God asks us to relinquish what we cling to, what we think will bring security. Eventually we find there is no security except in Jesus Christ. He alone has what we are longing for: a hope, a future, and a place of rest.