Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Yet their threshing floor remained full.....

We are studying Gideon by Priscilla Shirer in bible study right now.  So far it has been a great study.  I was thinking back over what I have studied in 2014, and almost everything has been Old Testament related.  God has really used 2014 so far to renew my interest in reading and learning from the Old Testament.

When we first meet with Gideon in judges, we find him threshing wheat in a wine press, hiding in fear from the Midianites.  A wine press is about as far from optimal when it comes to threshing wheat.  Normally a threshing floor is at the top of a hill where the wind can carry away the chaff and the wheat can dry out.  Wine presses are in caverns, they are damp, and lack moving air.  Gideon is hiding because  as tends to be the case, God’s people disobeyed his orders and did not terminate the midianites when settling the land and were paying the consequences as they were now under siege by the midianites.  If you have read any of the old testament, you know that this is a story that is on repeat.  God shows himself to His people, they do not fully obey his order and they suffer consequences that could have been avoided.  My initial reaction is “Why wouldn’t they just obey God? Life could be so  much easier.”  But then when I step back and really think about it, we do the same thing today all the time.  God tells us how to act, where to put our trust, to be obedient and yet, our immediate reaction is to try and do it on our own.  So we are left with consequences for our actions that could  have been fully avoided. 

In our current study, Priscilla reminds us that although God does allow the Isrealites to have to deal with certain consequences, he doesn’t fully abandon them – their threshing floors remained full.  They may have been under attack, or dealing with idol worship, but they were not without food and provisions needed.  They may have been disobedient and done things the hard way, but God still allowed them to eat and was going to provide a way out through Gideon, but it was going to be on God’s terms.  Priscilla challenged us to consider our lives, the tasks we consider mundane, the consequences we may have for past bad choices, the consequences we were convicting ourselves to because we were trying to go it alone, rather than fully rely and trusting on God.  No matter how difficult a day we are having, God still provides, our threshing floors remain full.  We have a job to go to every day and transportation to get there, we have health insurance and doctors, we have shelter and food to eat.  Life is hard, but God has not abandoned us. 

It is kind of ironic that I am writing this today, because today is April 8th.  One year ago today, we said goodbye to Baby Leiva.  Thankfully, our threshing floors remain full.  This post is not intended to reminisce about what we lost, but to focus on what we have gained.  In the last year, I have been challenged in my faith more than I even knew I needed.  I have been convicted beyond understanding with my lack of trust in God overall.  God is teaching me to let go of my death grip on control of my future and teaching me to stop gripping myself so tight and to start reaching out for him….It is HARD!  But my threshing floor remains full. God is challenging me and pushing me beyond my limits, but at the same time I feel stretched out more than I ever have before, I also feel FILLED by the Holy Spirit and comforted by God in ways I never have before.  God uses my sisters to encourage me, push me and support me.  I KNEW I was blessed with great friends, I knew they were seeking God and a special circle, but I did NOT know the depths of their friendship – at least not in the way I do now.  Yes, I knew they were amazing, but God knew they were even more.  I have leaned on them SO much in this last year.  They are praying for me.  They cry with me.  They make me laugh.  My threshing floor remains full. 

Alex and I are still praying for a baby and this last month was really hard for me.  I felt like it was a different month, things just felt different.  I was CONCVINCED that we were pregnant.  I was wrong, so last week was HARD.  I was texting with my friend about my challenges.  I confessed that I didn’t want “hope” for this to be the month, because I knew the let down would be harder.  She challenged me that I needed to have hope and I would be lying if I tried not to.  She reminded me we are called to pray with expectancy and hope.  Can you have true expectancy in your prayers and no hope?  This really convicted me again about my trust in the Lord and LACK of willingness to let go.  I am praying – but not releasing it to Him.  Praying and clinging.  God is using Gideon, a man FILLED with fear, to teach me about my weaknesses and fears.   How interesting that the angel of the Lord refers to Gideon as “Mighty Warrior” and that Gideon then spends the next chapter taking action yes, but taking action in fear.  He removed the altar to Baal at night.  God said to him directly, “Do not fear, your life will not be lost” yet he asked God to prove it like four times before he actually believed it, yet the angel called him “Mighty Warrior.”  God sees our potential, not our present state.  Thank goodness for that.  Hopefully God sees me as a Mom, even though my present state does not mimic that.  Until then, I pray with expectancy and hope as God is teaching me to let go. 

Samantha challenged me to live by these verses last week:
“Do you not know? Have you not heart?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

My chaplain challenged me with this verse this week:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,
So that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Anyone else see a theme?  I DO feel filled with joy and peace, I do hope in the Lord and feel my strength being renewed.  To go from devastating loss one year ago to complete joy and hope today – my threshing floors remain full. 

Keep praying!!  God is doing great things and whenever He does choose to bless us with a baby, it will be well worth the wait and you will want a front row seat!

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"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well."

~Psalm 139:14