“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, To consol those who mourn in Zion; to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV)
When I hear these promises, I can’t wait to exchange my ashes for His beauty, my despair for His splendor, and my shame for His dignity. But our patience is limited because we are raised in this fast-paced society. We want everything now, we can’t wait, instant gratification is our motto.
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength…” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)
Waiting all on its own is so difficult. But what feels worse is what God does with us while we wait for the results. He doesn’t just tell us to sit in this here chair and wait. We aren’t going to read a magazine in some stagnant waiting room. No, God’s goal is to change us and in order to accomplish that goal, we’re going to go through a threshing process that will often be so difficult and painful that we’ll be tempted wish we never asked for change. The process becomes so harrowing, that we’ll want to give up.
This process feels so difficult, but the rewards are incredible. How many of you have heard that a seed must “die” before it can grow? When I heard that story, I always heard about the seed’s death, burial, and growth into new life. Most of the time, the concentration was on the burial and the new life, no one wants to talk about the seeds death.
The “death” of the seed comes when it is threshed. The outer covering of the seed needs removal. In order to keep the seed from being exposed to the weather and insects, the plant develops a covering over the seed. In order to make the seed right for planting, this covering must be removed. The removal of our own personal “covering” (the part of us that has become ugly and tough to protect us from the world), God must thresh us, too.
Oh how miserable it is to be threshed!
Wait and think for a moment how miserable it is to be in labor for giving birth. Misery knows no bounds when it comes to travailing in childbirth. But the reward for the labor comes when the child is born. Suddenly the labor takes a backseat, forgotten, ready to be gone through again for another child.
That is what the threshing is all about. The temporary pain and misery will be worth the results, worth the splendor, the dignity, the august, the beauty. We must not give up. We have to remember that God has promised this threshing will not go on forever.
Does one crush bread grain? No, he does not thresh it continuously, but when he has driven his cartwheel and his horses over it, he scatters it [tossing it up to the wind] without having crushed it. (Isaiah 28:28 AMP)
Did you catch that? He doesn’t thresh forever, and he scatters it before it is crushed. God has promised that the pain will be for a short time. The beauty of what is inside us will be revealed without being bruised, crushed, or destroyed.
God has a plan. He makes everything beautiful. We just need to wait upon the Lord, and be willing to go through this short time of threshing.