Through the Fire

“So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12).

Through his griefs Job came to his heritage. He was tried that his godliness might be confirmed. Are not my troubles intended to deepen my character and to robe me in graces I had little of before? I come to my glory through eclipses, tears, death. My ripest fruit grows against the roughest wall. Job’s afflictions left him with higher conceptions of God and lowlier thoughts of himself. “Now,” he cried, “mine eye seeth thee.

And if, through pain and loss, I feel God so near in His majesty that I bend low before Him and pray, “Thy will be done,” I gain very much. God gave Job glimpses of the future glory. In those wearisome days and nights, he penetrated within the veil, and could say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Surely the latter end of Job was more blessed than the beginning.–In the Hour of Silence

“Trouble never comes to a man unless she brings a nugget of gold in her hand.”

Apparent adversity will finally turn out to be the advantage of the right if we are only willing to keep on working and to wait patiently. How steadfastly the great victor souls have kept at their work, dauntless and unafraid! There are blessings which we cannot obtain if we cannot accept and endure suffering. There are joys that can come to us only through sorrow. There are revealings of Divine truth which we can get only when earth’s lights have gone out. There are harvests which can grow only after the plowshare has done its work.–Selected

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seamed with scars; martyrs have put on their coronation robes glittering with fire, and through their tears have the sorrowful first seen the gates of Heaven. –Chapin

I shall know by the gleam and glitter
Of the golden chain you wear,
By your heart’s calm strength in loving,
Of the fire you have had to bear.
Beat on, true heart, forever;
Shine bright, strong golden chain;
And bless the cleansing fire
And the furnace of living pain!
–Adelaide Proctor

(From Charles E Cowman Devotionals – Streams in the Desert)

Grace in the Morning

“Come up in the morning . . . and present thyself unto me in the top of the mount” (Exod. 34:2).

The morning is the time fixed for my meeting the Lord. The very word morning is as a cluster of rich grapes. Let us crush them, and drink the sacred wine. In the morning! Then God means me to be at my best in strength and hope. I have not to climb in my weakness. In the night I have buried yesterday’s fatigue, and in the morning take a new lease of energy. Blessed is the day whose morning is sanctified! Successful is the day whose first victory was won in prayer! Holy is the day whose dawn finds thee on the top of the mount!

My Father, I am coming. Nothing on the mean plain shall keep me away from the holy heights. At Thy bidding I come, so Thou wilt meet me. Morning on the mount! It will make me strong and glad all the rest of the day so well begun. –Joseph Parker.

Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.

Alone with Thee, amid the mystic shadows,
The solemn hush of nature newly born;
Alone with Thee in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn.

As in the dawning o’er the waveless ocean,
The image of the morning-star doth rest,
So in this stillness, Thou beholdest only
Thine image in the waters of my breast.

When sinks the soul, subdued by toil, to slumber,
Its closing eyes look up to Thee in prayer;
Sweet the repose, beneath Thy wings o’er shadowing,
But sweeter still to wake and find Thee there. –Harriet Beecher Stowe

My mother’s habit was every day, immediately after breakfast, to withdraw for an hour to her own room, and to spend that hour in reading the Bible, in meditation and prayer. From that hour, as from a pure fountain, she drew the strength and sweetness which enabled her to fulfill all her duties, and to remain unruffled by the worries and pettinesses which are so often the trial of narrow neighborhoods. As I think of her life, and all it had to bear, I see the absolute triumph of Christian grace in the lovely ideal of a Christian lady. I never saw her temper disturbed; I never heard her speak one word of anger, of calumny, or of idle gossip; I never observed in her any sign of a single sentiment unbecoming to a soul which had drunk of the river of the water of life, and which had fed upon manna in the barren wilderness.–Farrar

Give God the blossom of the day. Do not put Him off with faded leaves.

(From Charles E Cowman Devotionals – Streams in the Desert)

Flowing From Us

“Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south, blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out!” (Song of Solomon 4:16).

Look at the meaning of this prayer a moment. Its root is found in the fact that, as delicious odors may lie latent in a spice tree, so graces may lie unexercised and undeveloped in a Christian’s heart. There is many a plant of profession; but from the ground there breathes forth no fragrance of holy affections or of godly deeds. The same winds blow on the thistle bush and on the spice tree, but it is only one of them which gives out rich odors.

Sometimes God sends severe blasts of trial upon His children to develop their graces. Just as torches burn most brightly when swung to and fro; just as the juniper plant smells sweetest when flung into the flames; so the richest qualities of a Christian often come out under the north wind of suffering and adversity. Bruised hearts often emit the fragrance that God loveth to smell.

“I had a tiny box, a precious box
Of human love–my spikenard of great price;
I kept it close within my heart of hearts,
And scarce would lift the lid
Lest it should waste its perfume on the air.
One day a strange deep sorrow came with crushing weight,
And fell upon my costly treasure,
Sweet and rare, and broke the box to atoms.

All my heart rose in dismay
And sorrow at this waste,
But as I mourned,
Behold a miracle of grace Divine.
My human love was changed to Heaven’s own,
And poured in healing streams on other broken hearts,
While soft and clear
A voice above me whispered,
“Child of Mine, with comfort wherewith thou art comforted,
from this time forth, go comfort others,
and thou shalt know blest fellowship with Me,
whose broken heart of love hath healed the world.”

(From Charles E Cowman Devotionals – Streams in the Desert)

It Is Sufficient

“IS” (2 Cor. 12:9).

It had pleased God to remove my youngest child under circumstances of peculiar trial and pain; and as I had just laid my little one’s body in the churchyard, on return home, I felt it my duty to preach to my people on the meaning of trial.

Finding that this text was in the lesson for the following Sabbath, I chose it as my Master’s message to them and myself; but on trying to prepare the notes, I found that in honesty I could not say that the words were true; and therefore I knelt down and asked God to let His grace be sufficient for me. While I was thus pleading, I opened my eyes and saw a framed illuminated text, which my mother had given me only a few days before, and which I had told my servant to place upon the wall during my absence at the holiday resort where my little one was taken away from us.

I did not notice the words on returning to my house; but as I looked up and wiped my eyes, the words met my gaze, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

The “is” was picked out in bright green while the “My” and the “thee” were painted in another color.

In one moment the message came straight to my soul, as a rebuke for offering such a prayer as, “Lord, let Thy grace be sufficient for me”; for the answer was almost as an audible voice, “How dare you ask that which is?” God cannot make it any more sufficient than He has made it; get up and believe it, and you will find it true, because the Lord says it in the simplest way: “My grace is (not shall be or may be) sufficient for thee.”

“My,” “is,” and “thee” were from that moment, I hope, indelibly fixed upon my heart; and I (thank God) have been trying to live in the reality of the message from that day forward to the present time.

The lesson that came to me, and which I seek to convey to others, is, Never turn God’s facts into hopes, or prayers, but simply use them as realities, and you will find them powerful as you believe them.–Prebendary H. W. Webb Peploe

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercies,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,

His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.
–Annie Johnson Flint

(From Charles E Cowman Devotionals – Streams in the Desert)