Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gleanings from A Graceful Waiting

Jan Frank compares waiting to the process of harvesting wheat. (A farmer's daughter reading a book with a farming image...good combination.) Forgive me as I process and learn by sharing things from this book over several posts. I hope you will also find some kernals of truth in what is shared.

Although I'd never personally threshed wheat, the analogy made a lot of sense to one who was at least familar with rubbing the dried wheat or rye stalks in my hand to get a taste of the kernals as I walked by a field. Harvesting wheat involves several steps in order to get to the clean kernals that can be processed into something more useable like flour. First the stalks must be cut and threshed, then they must be winnowed, and finally the grain is collected.

Threshing isn't a calm process. It involves seperating the grain from the head by basically beating it. It's a rough process. The grain gets knocked around and around so that it loosens from the chaff or junk that surrounds the kernal we want to harvest. It's a great association in my mind, becuase waiting usually makes me feel quite beat up in side, like I'm going to pieces in the process.

When the threshing is complete the kernal of grain is revealed, but it's also mixed in with a lot of debris. That's where winnowing fits in. The pile of good and not so good stuff is tossed into the air where breezes can carry away the lighter garbage and the wholesome kernals fall to the ground. Hasn't waiting also felt like lots of upheaval with emotions going this way and that? When all the chaff is finally blown away, the golden heart of the grain waits to be gathered.

So, like threshing and winnowing, waiting has a purpse in our lives. And God's threshing floor is filled with purpose. It's funny though how my heart is always filled with questions when I'm lying on the threshing floor and waiting. How silent God seems to those questions.

"What is God trying to teach me?"

"What does He want me to do?"

"Why is this happening to me?"

"How can I do this?"

"I know what God's said, I know who He is, but can I really trust Him?"

"Will this hurt? Will I be okay in the end?"

"What am I going to look like on the other side of this?"

That's how I respond to waiting. I start asking questions. And I was sure this asking of questions was not a part of godly waiting. I mean if I was waiting with faith, I wouldn't have doubt or fear or questions, would I? But is that really true? Often heros of the Bible asked questions when God was silent. It's what they did after they asked the's the surrendering to God and trusting Him that made them heros. Somehow, that's comforting. I can wait and ask questions. I just can't stop there though.

"Questioning is commincation and demonstrates a pursuit of knowledge and understanding. When we take our questions to God we are asking to know Him better."
Jan Frank

So, one thing I've gleaned from this book so far, is that the process of waiting can be filled with questions, as LONG as the questions draw us to know Him better. My prayer is that our waiting periods will bring a rich harvest of knowing our God for who He is and not who we think He is.

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