There we sat, with the sound of banjos and the smell of bacon and frittatas, in a small cafe in Eastern Tennessee having breakfast and catching up on the 8 years that had gone by since we had last seen each other in Sydney, Australia. Matt had just arrived into the U.S. from his home near London and was taking in the sights of big beards and checkered shirts. It was October of 2012, as we shared about our lives over that yummy breakfast and coffee; and although we had experienced very different life events, we had both gone through very similar seasons. We had previously led worship together in Australia as 20 year olds, and had planned to conquer the world with our big dreams. In our reunion, we shared about the realities of disappointments and unfulfilled hopes.
Over the coming months, we mulled over the ways we had seen God’s faithfulness. We churned over the ways God had led us to deeper places of worship. Those months proved to be a fruitful season, both with Matt’s songwriting as well as the opportunities we had to lead worship together. We experienced the wonderful and intimate presence of the Lord as we sang.
Both of us have held tightly to the promise that God can bring beauty from the ashes. We like to compare some of the difficult seasons of life to the “threshing floor”. The concept of the threshing floor comes from one of the stages that wheat will go through before it is made into bread. Part of this process takes place on a level floor and goes through a crushing to separate the grain from the straw and chaff. This is done by a sharp threshing sledge, or by being tread over by cattle or a cart. This is known as "threshing".
The scriptures at times refer to the suffering of God's people being as if they themselves were on a threshing floor. There's a testing, a loss, suffering, a personal death, so to speak. The beauty of God's power and His heart toward us is that it is not the end. In fact it may be the beginning. In loosing your life, you might find it. In the book of Isaiah, God’s compassion is seen for His people on the "threshing floor". We also see that an exchange of brokenness, barrenness, mourning, grieving, abandonment and captivity, leads ultimately to freedom, beauty, strength, fruitfulness, joy, praise, and blessed generations for those whose God is the Lord.
The hope that God offers to us, as His children, is pregnant with possibilities. That's why, as Matt and Micah, two friends along the journey, are singing of that hope. Through God’s creativity and our surrender, life can breathe into disappointed dreams and into pain - and lead us to places in God that we never imagined were possible.