Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rich Devotionals

When I thought I might be doing daily devotions with a group of dorm girls, I wanted to be prepared. So as I packed up my books for moving from our house, I kept out a handful of good devotional books: Elliot's Keep a Quiet Heart, Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, Chambers's My Utmost for His Highest, and one that I'd read very little of -- Streams In the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman.
I was sad when the dorm parent opportunity fell through, but God wastes nothing, and these devotional books have been a boon to me, and a salve to my hurting heart. Just yesterday we were talking about daily devotions at our knitting/crocheting/quilting group, and Julia said, "May I read one of those books, Mom? I need something to read for my devotions."  She's just turned 12.

This morning I glanced at Streams In the Desert and found this passage. It's actually written by George Matheson and quoted by Mrs. Cowman:

"'And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.' (Mark 1:12) [This refers, of course, to Jesus, after God's declaration of His Sonship during His Jordan River baptism.]

"Hast thou weighed the comfort of that word 'immediately'? Why does it come so soon after the blessing? Just to show that it is the sequel to the blessing. God shines on thee to make thee fit for life's desert-places -- for its Gethsemanes, for its Calvaries. He lifts thee up that He may give thee strength to go further down; He illuminates thee that He may send thee into the night, that He may make thee a help to the helpless.

"Not at all times art thou worthy of the wilderness; thou art only worthy of the wilderness after the splendors of Jordan. Nothing but the Son's vision can fit thee for the Spirit's burden; only the glory of the baptism can support the hunger of the desert."

We usually think of blessing as the norm. We're supposed to live a happy, blessed, comfortable life. We feel it is our right, that it is achievable, that trials shouldn't come. The opposite is true. The brief times of comfort and blessing are only preparation for, as he says above, "sending us further down." We grab a quick gulp of air before we dive down into the depths. We are given brief light so that we can have the courage to enter the darkness, and do God's work there.

Affliction for the Christian is a badge of honor. It says, "This one has been through training and is fit as a soldier."

I think Streams In the Desert will be a good choice for Julia.

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