Hey, blog readers! Today’s guest post comes from my sister, Erin. She’s made appearances on here before, from her first guest post, to the video from the time she taught me to drive stick shift, to the time I let her cut my hair. She’s a nursing student at a large Christian university, but she’s home for the summer and agreed to write another piece for the blog! Enjoy!
“ ‘Tis the Season to be…Patient ” by Erin Schaeffer
Sometimes I have a hard time waiting. “Hello, my name is Erin and I’m a human being.” Waiting for the light to turn green so I can take-off with my nonexistent NASCAR skills. Waiting for the spiral on the vending machine to ‘slowly’ release the salted pretzels into my eager hands and please my roaring stomach. Waiting for that grade to be posted so I can shift my unsteady emotions towards sorrow or joy. Waiting for God to answer my prayers. Oh yes, things just got spiritual.
Now, I love Google. It’s my BFFL. Mi amigo. The sugar to my tea. The caffeine to my coffee. The cheese to my easy mac. A spoke in the wheel of my college degree. But just like every friendship, ours is not perfect. For Google can’t meet ALL of my curiosity needs. I can ask Google, “What is the life span of the beluga whale?” But I can’t ask “In what ways will God use me?” or, “When will God answer this prayer that I’ve prayed over and over and over and over and over and over again?” Here’s where waiting comes in. Where life goes from the microwave to the crock pot. From high-speed internet to dialup. From cheetah… to slug.
In the Bible, we can see that Ruth went through a time of waiting. Naomi instructed Ruth to go down to the threshing floor and lay at Boaz’s feet until he woke up. She did not bother Boaz, but patiently waited for him to wake up, knowing that with his awakening would come redemption.
In a similar way, God often brings us down to the threshing floor. Notice it said “down” to the threshing floor. Refining usually takes place at a low point in our life- not a high one. God often brings us to a low point where we feel out of control. Just as the threshing floor was used to separate true grain from chaff, God brings us to this point to refine and purify our faith in Him. During this time He chisel’s away any piece of our lives that doesn’t look like Him. Though we long to feel in control of our life, this is actually a good place to be because it increases our dependence on Him.
Just as Ruth laid at Boaz’s feet and waited, so we must do the same with God. During this time of refinement all we can do is take everything we have (all of our problems or expectations), lay it at Jesus’s feet, and wait. For a while it seemed like Boaz was never going to wake up, but he did! He woke up and saw Ruth patiently waiting there. Sometimes it seems as if God is sleeping (Like we need to ring the little silver service bell to make our presence known). But, unlike Boaz, He’s not sleeping and sees us patiently waiting there.
When Boaz awoke, he measured out six measures of barley and gave it to Ruth. This is way more than she could have accumulated on her typical day of work! In the same way, these hard times of waiting produce more growth in our character than any amount of typical daily living. Though the threshing floor is often uncomfortable, we come out looking more like Christ!
And now for a healthy dose of life-application:
I knew that I was in a place that God brought me to -thousands of miles from home- and I was excited to be a part of His plan. One problem- I tried to direct my own steps. I set out, ready to change the world for God. I knew I was where God wanted me, so I jumped right in. Immediately I was met with discouragement.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve now arrived at the threshing floor.
For two days, God brought me down to the threshing floor. He showed me that I had expectations and goals that needed to be surrendered. He showed me that it was His plan- not mine. Therefore, I needed to submit all of those expectations to Him. I needed to wait patiently in prayer- seeking Him for guidance. God did not call me there to bring my own ideas. He called me there to use me in His plan.
Finally, God brought me up from the threshing floor. I saw God do INCREDIBLE things! He softened hearts, answered unbelievable prayers, and took dead souls and made them alive in Him. Every expectation that I previously had God made look small and unimpressive compared to the mighty works He performed. During my time at the threshing floor, God captured my complete focus and taught me to be more tuned in to His direction. Had I not gone through that short time of refinement, I would have missed many blessings that the LORD had for me because I was not tuned in to His direction.
Although my trip to the threshing floor was relatively quick this time, sometimes they can last for weeks, months, years, or decades. We can become confused as to what God is doing. Here comes the trust factor. The Bible says that God’s word is “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path” (Psalm 119:105). A lamp. Not an overhead light. We can’t just walk in the room, flip that sucker on and be like, “Oh hey, so that’s what’s going to happen in 10 years.” We must walk in the small amount of light that God has given us, and trust Him with all of the darkness. Yes, His ways are mysterious and often do not make sense to us. “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD”-Isaiah 55:8. But is a god who can be completely understood by human minds mighty enough for us to submit our lives to?
So you may find yourself at the threshing floor; impatient and ready to be used by God. Or maybe –like Ruth- you’re waiting for God to redeem a situation. Rejoice in hope (Romans 12:12), knowing that God is refining you to be more like Him. For in due time He will “wake up”, and work though us in ways that are incomprehensible. So fasten your seat-belt and prepare your mind to be boggled; it’s going to be a wild ride!
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope” –Psalm 130:5
“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles” –Psalm 34:17
“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” -2 Chronicles 16:9
“[Jesus declared] I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” –John 15:5
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” – 2 Corinthians 2:14