STREAMS IN THE DESERT by L.B. COWMAN
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in
hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
The literal translation of this verse adds a startling emphasis to it, allowing it to speak for itself with power we have probably never realized. It is as follows: "Therefore I take pleasure in being without strength, being insulted, experiencing emergencies, and being chased and forced into a corner for Christ's sake; for when I am without strength, I am dynamite."
The secret of knowing God's complete sufficiency is in coming to the end of everything in ourselves and our circumstances. Once we reach this point, we will stop seeking sympathy for our difficult situation or ill treatment, because we will recognize these things as the necessary conditions for blessings. We will then turn from our circumstances to God, realizing they are the evidence of Him working in our lives. (A.B. Simpson)
George Matheson, the well-known blind preacher of Scotland, once said, "My dear God, I have never thanked You for my thorns, I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses but not once for my thorns. I have always looked forward to the place where I will be rewarded for my cross, but I have never thought of my cross as a present glory itself.
"Teach me, O Lord, to glory in my cross. Teach me the value of my thorns. Show me how I have climbed to You through the path of pain. Show me it is through my tears I have seen my rainbows."
Alas for him who never sees
The stars shine through the cypress trees.
STREAMS IN THE DESERT by L.B. COWMAN
Glory ye the LORD in the fires. (Isaiah 24:15 KJV)
Notice the little word "in"! We are to honor the Lord IN the
trial---IN the very thing that afflicts us. And although there are examples where God did not allow His saints to even feel the fire, usually the fire causes pain.
It is precisely there, in the heat of the fire, we are to glorify Him. We do this by exercising perfect faith in His goodness and love that has permitted this trial to come upon us. Even more, we are to believe that out of the fire will arise something more worthy of praise to Him than had we never experienced it.
To go through some fires will take great faith, for little faith will fail. We must win the victory IN the furnace.
A person has only as much faith as he shows in times of trouble. The three men who were thrown into the fiery furnace came out just as they went in---EXCEPT for the ropes that had bound them. How often God removes our shackles in the furnace of affliction!
These three men walked through the fire unhurt---their skin was not blistered. Not only had the fire "not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them"
This is the way Christians should come out of the furnace of fiery trials---liberated from their shackles but untouched by the flames.
Triumphing over them IN it. (Colossians 2:15 KJV)
This is the real triumph---triumphing over sickness IN it, triumphing over death IN dying, and triumphing over other adverse circumstances IN them. Believe me, there is a power that can make us victors IN the conflict.
There are heights we can reach where we can look back over the path we have come and sing our song of triumph on this side of heaven. We can cause others to regard us as rich, while we are poor, and make many rich in our poverty. We are to triumph IN IT.
Christ's triumph was IN His humiliation. And perhaps our triumph will also be revealed through what others see as humiliation. (Margaret Bottome)
Isn't there something captivating about the sight of a person burdened with many trials, yet who is lighthearted as the sound of a bell? Isn't there something contagious and valiant in seeing others who are greatly tempted but are "more than conquerors" (Rom. 8:37)? Isn't it heartening to see a fellow traveler whose body is broken, yet who retains the splendor of unbroken patience?
What a witness these give to the power of God's gift of grace! (John Henry Jowett)
When each earthly brace falls under
And life seems a restless sea,
Are you then a God-held wonder,
Satisfied and calm and free?
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