Streams in the Desert - Jan 21

by L. B. E. Cowman and Jim Reimann

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I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me. (Acts 20: 24)

We read in 2 Samuel 5: 17, “When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him.” The moment we receive anything from the Lord worth fighting for, the Devil comes seeking to destroy us.

When the Enemy confronts us at the threshold of any great work for God, we should accept it as evidence of our salvation, and claim double the blessing, victory, and power. Power is developed through resistance. The force and the amount of damage created by an exploding artillery shell appears to be greater because of the resistance at the point of impact. A power plant produces additional electricity by using the friction of the rotating turbines. And one day, we too will understand that even Satan has been used as one of God’s instruments of blessing.
~from Days of Heaven upon Earth

A hero is not fed on sweets,
Daily his own heart he eats;
Chambers of the great are jails,
And head winds right for royal sails.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tribulation is the door to triumph. The valley leads to the open highway, and tribulation’s imprint is on every great accomplishment. Crowns are cast in crucibles, and the chains of character found at the feet of God are forged in earthly flames. No one wins the greatest victory until he has walked the winepress of woe. With deep furrows of anguish on His brow, the “man of sorrows” (Isa. 53: 3) said, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16: 33). But immediately comes the psalm of promise, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The footprints are visible everywhere. The steps that lead to thrones are stained with spattered blood, and scars are the price for scepters. We will wrestle our crowns from the giants we conquer. It is no secret that grief has always fallen to people of greatness.

The mark of rank in nature
Is capacity for pain;
And the anguish of the singer
Makes the sweetest of the strain.

Tribulation has always marked the trail of the true reformer. It was true in the story of Paul, Luther, Savonarola, Knox, Wesley, and the rest of God’s mighty army. They came through great tribulation to their point of power.

Every great book has been written with the author’s blood. “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation” (Rev. 7: 14). In spite of his blindness, wasn’t Homer the unparalleled poet of the Greeks? And who wrote the timeless dream of Pilgrim’s Progress? Was it a prince in royal robes seated on a couch of comfort and ease? No! The lingering splendor of John Bunyan’s vision gilded the dingy walls of an old English jail in Bedford, while he, a princely prisoner and a glorious genius, made a faithful transcript of the scene.

Great is the easy conqueror;
Yet the one who is wounded sore,
Breathless, all covered o’er with blood and sweat,
Sinks fainting, but fighting evermore—
Is greater yet.


Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 42-43). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Categories: spiritual