The little drummer boy lives at my house.

Actually, he’s not so little any more. I am now the proud mother of a member of the 6th grade percussion team at one of our local schools. Translation: my already-noisy boy now has drums, sticks, mallets and a xylophone to assist him in his noise-making abilities.

Every time I turn around, he’s pounding something. The coffee table. The bathroom counter. The car dashboard.

You and I see silverware. He sees musical instruments.

You and I see writing utensils. He sees music-makers.

A plate is a drum pad. A pair of textbooks equals of set of crashing symbols. Clatter, bang, pound.

And now, my head is pounding.

But it’s okay. He’s still a beginner.

With enough pounding, he could be one of the greats one day. He could turn out to be a musical genius, and take care of his dear mother in her golden years. As I rubbed my temples and tried to have patience with my budding Phil Collins protégé, I remembered a verse I read recently, from the Book of Ruth.

So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her —Ruth 3:6.

Do you know what was done on the threshing floor?

Yes, that’s right. Threshing.

Now to be perfectly honest, I had to look this up. I had a general idea of what threshing was, but I wanted to be sure. To thresh means to strike repeatedly, in order to separate the seed from the chaff.

In other words, you pound the stuff until you separate the good from the bad, the useful from the useless, the valuable stuff from the garbage. Another form of this word is thrashing. And we all know what it means to receive a thrashing.

Did you notice that in order to get to the threshing floor, Ruth had to go down? Boy, I could write an entire book on that. But the long and short of it is, we are all a little bit like the wheat and barley that ended up on that threshing floor. We have the potential to be useful, to be valuable. But until we spend some time on the threshing floor, we’ll have a bunch of useless debris hanging around our souls.

God wants us to be like Him — loving, kind, compassionate, forgiving, generous, holy. He knows for most of us, in order to become like Him, we’ve got to have our old sin natures pounded out of us. And before that can happen, we usually have to go down. Far down. To the bottom.

The funny thing is, we all want to be valuable. We all want to have great worth. But apart from true saints and lunatics, there isn’t one of us who would choose what we usually have to go through to get there. There’s not one of us who would say, “Okay, God, pound it out of me! Give me a good thrashing. Just beat me until there’s nothing left, so I can be who You want me to be.”

Yet, I speak from experience. The thrashings, the poundings I’ve received from this life really have helped me get rid of a lot of my garbage. The difficult things I’ve experienced have made me wiser, more loving, more compassionate. They’ve made me gentler, kinder, more generous, more forgiving.

I never would have requested the threshing floor. I wouldn’t want to do it again, though I’m sure at some point I will. But you know something? I’m glad God loved me enough to see my potential. I’m glad He allowed me to be pounded.

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