Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Threshing Floor of My Heart...Where My Kinsman-Redeemer Meets Me

"This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go."
Isaiah 48:17
I call them the Threshing Floor Seasons of life. Those times when God, in His love and faithfulness, takes us through a process of purifying our hearts. He necessarily goes through the grain of our heart, gets to the root and separates the righteous wheat from the dead chaff. I have found it to be a more effective and efficient process as I surrender my heart willingly to Him and say, “Father, please separate the wheat from the chaff in my heart so only the wheat remains.” The wheat represents the good, fruitful part of our hearts that is pleasing and useful to Him. The chaff is the dead, fruitless part of our heart that does not honor Him and cannot be used by Him. He wants to purify our hearts by ridding us of the chaff. Afterwards, our hearts are refreshed, our faith is stronger, and God is glorified. The healthy wheat has remained, and the lifeless chaff has been burned away.

Often His instrument used during this process comes in the form of a person. Someone in our lives who God uses as His tool of sanctification. Sometimes these tools are trusted, proven relationships where we feel safe to expose our hearts and have our uglies revealed.
Other times, the tool, as a winnowing fork, is someone with whom we would not choose to expose our hearts, someone who tends to rub us the wrong way…”the unlikely servants we call sandpaper people”. In her book Sandpaper People”, Mary Southerland (click here) goes on to say, “Difficult relationships have been the source of great pain as well as an invaluable conduit for God’s utmost healing for me.” I have learned to truly thank the Lord for these people as they can, if I yield my heart to the Lord, be tools used to burn away the choking chaff so that only fruitful wheat remains. In the light of God's Word, these seasons are invaluable.

I am also very aware that I am a “sandpaper person” to some people, and I don’t take that lightly. My desire is not to rub anyone the wrong way, but the fact of the matter is I do. I pray that I can honor Him even as someone’s sandpaper person, in what usually is an awkward position. When He makes me aware that I am a sandpaper person to someone, I humbly ask Him to help me quietly honor Him in that uncomfortable role. And as only He can do, He has brought about lovely relationships with people who previously were in the role of "sandpaper person" in my life. That's a beautiful thing.

Recently, as I was going through a threshing floor season and the tool was an unknowing servant, one of my sandpaper people, the Lord impressed upon my heart to do a little Bible study about the threshing floor by reading through the book of Ruth. This book of the Bible illustrates the law of the kinsman-redeemer. A kinsman-redeemer was a near relative who was able and willing to pay the price of redemption, freeing the relative by taking care of the debt/ransom price for them. By leaving His throne and coming to dwell with us in flesh through the incarnation, Jesus became our Kinsman-Redeemer. Our Perfect Nearest-of-Kin made reconciliation with God for us, while we were yet sinners.

As I read through the third chapter of Ruth, I was tenderly overwhelmed by His Word. Ruth 3:5 tells us that she went to the threshing floor in obedience. I was breathless as I read on and was reminded that there on the threshing floor she encountered her kinsman-redeemer, whom she asked to gently cover her with his garment of protection and care. How this ministered to my heart. Our Kinsman-Redeemer is faithful to meet us on the threshing floor of our hearts. He loves us and desires a pure heart in us. He tenderly meets us in that place, and we are secure under His covering of love.

Going to the threshing floor of our hearts is a bittersweet process. But the sweet is worth it. Our Kinsman Redeemer meets us there in faithfulness and gently covers us with His garment of protection, care and righteousness. The chaff is burned and blows away. The beautiful wheat remains and brings Him glory.
“ …for the Lord searches the heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you…” 1 Chronicles 28:9 (NIV)

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

“Do not withhold Your mercy from me, O Lord; may Your love and Your truth always protect me.” Psalm 40:11 (NIV)

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Psalm 51:10 (NIV)
"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."
Titus 3:4-7


Blessed Mom of 8 said...

AMEN! That was beautiful!

There is no place to be outside of His will for us through these seasons!

Hugs and love,

Lisa said...

The instant I read the title of this post, I knew I would love it. The story of Ruth and Boaz is one of my favorites in the whole Bible. It's a wonderful reminder of how tenderly our Lord loves us, and how He longs to keep us close.


Chatty Kelly said...

This was a very interesting post! I'd never thought of the sandpaper people principle. Certainly I have those in my life...althought I'm SURE I'm not one to anyone else. LOL! (Well, maybe my husband! HAHA!) Just kidding.

Anyway - good food for thought today!

Pinkshoelady said...

I too am going through a threashing floor season. It is not fun and there seems to be an abundance of sandpaper people in my life. I believe it is one way that God is preparing us for Army Chaplaincy.
I' will pray for you please keep us in your prayers as well.

Runner Mom said...

I have read several blogs this afternoon trying to catch up with friends. Each blog has blessed me more and more! I love the story of Ruth! And how Christ is our Kins-man Redeemer. The words that God gave you so spoke to my heart! I believe it's about time for a threshing floor season in me!!

Love you!

Micca said...

Sharon, you always inspire me, challenge me, and refresh me with your words!

Your heart is beautiful and from it flows rivers of living water!

bless you, my friend.

christy rose said...

Hi! I justed stopped by from Forever n ever and found you. This post is just delightful.

I so love the last scripture that you used Psalm 51:10. He saved us because that is the kind of God He is, a merciful, kind, loving, saving God!

This was a great post! I will be back again!

Wendy Blight said...

Oh, Sharon, I LOVED this teaching. You are amazingly gifted at taking Scripture and bringing it alive.

I especially love the prayer you prayed for God to take your heart and separate the wheat from the chaff. Never have I applied those verses to my own heart as many times as I have read, even taught, the book of Ruth. Thank you for making God's Word come alive to me today and teaching me a new way to pray!!

Thankful for you,


Sarah Dawn said...

Thank you for your prayers (and your up late or should I say early this morning too). This is a beautiful new day, filled with extra dancing in heaven.

Sarah Dawn

My Journey to Hope said...

So true! I also wanted to invite you to stop by my blog and enter my Birthday Giveaway!