STREAMS IN THE DESERT by L.B. COWMAN
At once the Spirit sent Him out into the desert. (Mark 1:12)
This seemed a strange way for God to prove His favor. "At once"---after what? After heaven was opened and the Spirit descended "like a dove" (v.10), and the Father voiced His blessing, "You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased" (v.11). Yet it is not an abnormal experience.
You, my soul, have also experienced it. Aren't your times of deepest depression the moments that immediately follow your loftiest highs? Just yesterday you were soaring high in the heavens and singing in the radiance of the morning. Today, however, your wings are folded and your song is silent. At noon you were basking in the sunshine of the Father's smile, but by evening you were saying from the wilderness, "My way is hidden from the LORD" (Isa.40:27).
No, my soul, the actual suddenness of the change is proof that it is not abnormal. Have you considered the comfort of the words "at once," and why the change comes so soon after the blessing? Simply to show that it is the sequel to the blessing. God shines His light on you to make you fit for life's deserts, Gethsemanes, and Calvaries. He lifts you to new heights to strengthen you so that you may go deeper still. He illuminates you so He may send you into the night, making you a help to the helpless.
You are not always worthy of the wilderness---you are only worthy of the wilderness after the splendor of the Jordan River experience. Nothing but the Son's vision can equip you to carry the Spirit's burden, and only the glory of the baptism can withstand the hunger of the desert.
After blessings comes the battle.
The time of testing that distinguishes and greatly enriches a person's spiritual career is not an ordinary one but a period when it seems as if all hell were set loose. It is a time when we realize our soul is caught in a net, and we know God is allowing us to be gripped by the Devil's hand. Yet it is a period that always ends in certain triumph for those who have committed the keeping of their souls to God. And the testing "later on...produces a harvest of righteousness and peace" (Heb.12:11) and paves the way for the thirtyfold to one hundredfold increase that is promised to follow (see Matt.13:23). (Aphra White)
COME AWAY MY BELOVED by FRANCES J ROBERTS
THE CALL OF LOVE
O My beloved, abide under the shelter of the lattice----for I have betrothed thee unto Myself, and though ye are sometimes indifferent toward Me, My love for thee is at all times as a flame of fire. My ardor never cools. My longing for thy love and affection is deep and constant.
Tarry not for an opportunity to have more time to be alone with Me. Take it, though ye leave the tasks at hand. Nothing will suffer. Things are of less importance than ye think. Our time together is like a garden full of flowers, whereas the time ye give to things is as a field full of stubble.
I love thee, and if ye can always, as it were, feel My pulsebeat, ye shall know many things the knowledge of which shall give thee sustaining strength. I bare thy sins and I wish to carry thy burdens. Ye may have the gift of a light and merry heart. My love bower is the place where ye shall find it, for My love dispels all fear and is a cure for every ill. Lay thy head upon My breast and lose thyself in Me. Thou shalt experience resurrection life and peace; the joy of the Lord shall become thy strength; and wells of salvation shall be opened within thee.
STREAMS IN THE DESERT by L.B. COWMAN
"In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me,
And made Me a polished shaft;
In His quiver He has hidden Me." (Isaiah 49:2)
"In the shadow"---each of us must go there sometimes. The glare of the sunlight is too bright, and our eyes become
injured. Soon they are unable to discern the subtle shades of color or appreciate neutral tints, such as the shadowed sickroom, the shadowed house of grief, or the shadowed life where the sunlight has departed.
But fear not! It is the shadow of God's hand. He is leading you, and there are lessons that can be learned only where He leads.
The photograph of His face can only be developed in the dark room. But do not assume that He has pushed you aside. You are still "in His quiver." He has not thrown you away as something worthless.
He is only keeping you nearby till the moment comes when He can send you quickly and confidently on some mission that will bring Him glory. O shadowed, isolated one, remember how closely the quiver is tied to the warrior. It is always within easy reach of his hand and jealously protected. (from Christ in Isaiah, by F.B. Meyer)
In some realms of nature, shadows or darkness are the places of greatest growth. The beautiful Indian corn never grows more rapidly than in the darkness of a warm summer night. The sun withers and curls the leaves in the scorching light of noon, but once a cloud hides the sun, they quickly unfold. The shadows provide a service that the sunlight does not. The starry beauty of the sky cannot be seen at its peak until the shadows of night slip over the sky. Lands with fog, clouds, and shade are lush with greenery. And there are beautiful flowers that bloom in the shade that will never bloom in the sun. Florists now have their evening primrose as well as their morning glory. The evening primrose will not open in the noonday sun but only reveals its beauty as the shadows of the evening grow longer.
If all of life were sunshine,
Our face would long to gain
And feel once more upon it
The cooling splash of rain. (Henry Jackson Van Dyke)
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