Monday, September 19, 2005

September 19

How refreshing it is to have found a devotional with substance and depth, where daily I'm challenged to trust Him more rather than to pursue my own happiness. Suffering seems to be so out of style in our culture. But Mrs. Cowman discovered its necessity in our spiritual development. In her devotional collection, Streams in the Desert, she offers daily meditations on the value of suffering. For September 19th she quotes Dr. Miller, saying,

"It is comforting to think of trouble, in whatever form it may come to us, as a heavenly messenger, bringing us something from God. In its earthly aspect it may seem hurtful, even destructive; but in its spiritual out-working it yields blessing. Many of the richest blessings which have come down to us from the past are the fruit of sorrow or pain. We should never forget that redemption, the world's greatest blessing, is the fruit of the world's greatest sorrow.

"There are blessings we can never have unless we are ready to pay the price of pain. There is no way to reach them save through suffering."

Having learned yesterday of the death of a humble and effective servant of God in the Philippines, of a friend's husband who has discovered a brain tumor, and of the death of a 9-year old boy whose parents left home to bring the good news to remote tribes, this comes as a great comfort. How can we explain the presence of such suffering if not for the fact that God's purposes for our lives run so much deeper than our personal comfort here on earth? He has rich blessings to give, if only we will recognize His hand in our troubles.