The Threshing

There once was a foolish farmer who loved his wheat field so much that he refused to harvest it. Months after carefully planting, watering, tending, and praying, his wheat was golden, ready to bring into the barns and be put to good use. The farmer walked his field, discussing the upcoming harvest. “After I gather you, I must thresh you.” The field gasped. “Does threshing hurt?” After a moment of hesitation, the farmer answered, “To loosen the grain involves beating and crushing and stomping on your stalks. I admit it doesn’t sound pleasant.” The field cried out sharply, wind rippling terror through the waving stems. It begged the farmer to relent, clutching at the ragged edges of his humanity. “Please no! That sounds unbearable!” Sobs and whimpers turned to stillness. “But the threshing is necessary,” the farmer replied. “If I can’t harvest you, you’ll be no good—just a lovely but wasted field. This process of harvesting is what you were created for. The pain will give way to joy, I promise.” The wheat implored him desperately until he finally decided that a lovely but wasted field was not the end of the world.

Three months later, the field froze to death under four feet of snow.

Aren’t you so thankful that God loves us too much to let our fear of pain get in the way of what’s best for us? Of course He hears our pleas, and I believe His heart breaks with ours as very real bruising occurs. But to put His greatest plan aside for the purpose of our comfort is not allowing God to be God. We were planted to be harvested. Yes, there will be beating and crushing and stomping. But the joy that comes after, waiting on the other side of harvest, is magnificent. Our little wheat brains can’t even guess at it.

The Good Farmer (not the foolish one) has planted, watered, tended, and prayed. He’s growing us into a fruitful crop that will give life to the world, and He will not be overcome in His fight for our painful but beautiful benefit. We must be harvested, a lifelong process of dying to self and being amazed again and again at the resurrection power in those nail-scarred, dirt-encrusted hands.

Seasonal change is always a threshing floor for my soul. It’s not as obvious a trauma as the passing of a loved one, but for a heart that is wired to be highly sensitive, the changing from summer to autumn is ever a little death. Don’t get me wrong—I love pumpkin spice, boots, and bonfires. In fact, fall is my favorite season. The releasing of the past is what grinds against my soul. All of those moments I didn’t wring out the uttermost of what each day had to offer, whether I went in too soon to see the stars or missed out on that chance to celebrate well. Given the space, my silly little wheat head will begin drooping under the weight of regret, and the thought of moving into an expanse of newness—with all of those new opportunities to mess up—overwhelms me.

This is the kindest time to be threshed.

The threshing is a reminder that joy comes in the morning, beauty after ashes. It gives me fresh monuments of grace and becomes a bountiful crop of glory. My pain, minuscule or massive, isn’t only mine; it belongs to the Good Farmer, it belongs to others in my field, and it belongs to those who will come after me. There is deep purpose in it, transforming the ouch into alleluia.

If your heart is struggling with change right now, lean into the threshing. The death of comfort and familiarity is the best thing for the yield we need. It’s okay to grieve. We are bent but not broken. Our Farmer knows what He’s doing, and in the end He’ll reap a harvest that takes our breath away.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

(John 12:24)

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