Streams in the Desert - Dec 20

by L. B. E. Cowman and Jim Reimann

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I am not alone, for my Father is with me. (John 16: 32)

It is certainly unnecessary to say that turning conviction into action requires great sacrifice. It may mean renouncing or separating ourselves from specific people or things, leaving us with a strange sense of deprivation and loneliness. Therefore the person who will ultimately soar like an eagle to the heights of the cloudless day and live in the sunshine of God must be content to live a relatively lonely life.

There are no birds that live in as much solitude as eagles, for they never fly in flocks. Rarely can even two eagles be seen together. And a life that is dedicated to God knows divine fellowship, no matter how many human friendships have had to be forfeited along the way.

God seeks “eagle people,” for no one ever comes into the full realization of the best things of God in his spiritual life without learning to walk alone with Him. We see Abraham alone “in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities . . . near Sodom” (Gen. 13: 12). Moses, although educated in all the wisdom of Egypt, had to spend forty years alone with God in the desert. And Paul, who was filled with all the knowledge of the Greeks and who sat “at the feet of Gamaliel” (Acts 22: 3 KJV), was required, after meeting Jesus, to go “immediately into Arabia” (Gal. 1: 17) to learn of the desert life with God.

May we allow God to isolate us, but I do not mean the isolation of a monastery. It is in the experience of isolation that the Lord develops an independence of life and of faith so that the soul no longer depends on the continual help, prayers, faith, and care of others. The assistance and inspiration from others are necessary, and they have a place in a Christian’s development, but at times they can actually become a hindrance to a person’s faith and welfare.

God knows how to change our circumstances in order to isolate us. And once we yield to Him and He takes us through an experience of isolation, we are no longer dependent upon those around us, although we still love them as much as before. Then we realize that He has done a new work within us and that the wings of our soul have learned to soar in loftier air.

We must dare to be alone, in the way that Jacob had to be alone for the Angel of God to whisper in his ear, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel” (Gen. 32: 28); in the way that Daniel had to be left alone to see heavenly visions; and in the way that John had to be banished to the Isle of Patmos to receive and record “the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him” (Rev. 1: 1).

He has “trodden the winepress alone” (Isa. 63: 3) for us. Therefore, are we prepared for a time of “glorious isolation” rather than to fail Him?


Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 471-472). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Categories: spiritual