Streams in the Desert - Mar 25

by L. B. E. Cowman and Jim Reimann

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Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11: 6)

We all need faith for desperate days, and the Bible is filled with accounts of such days. Its story is told with them, its songs are inspired by them, its prophecy deals with them, and its revelation has come through them. Desperate days are the stepping-stones on the path of light. They seem to have been God’s opportunity to provide our school of wisdom.

Psalm 107 is filled with stories of God’s lavish love. In every story of deliverance, it was humankind coming to the point of desperation that gave God His opportunity to act. Arriving at “their wits’ end” (Ps. 107: 27) of desperation was the beginning of God’s power.

Remember the promise made to a couple “as good as dead,” that their descendants would be “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore” (Heb. 11: 12). Read once again the story of the Red Sea deliverance, and the story of how “the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan” (Josh. 3: 17). Study once more the prayers of Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah when they were severely troubled, not knowing what to do. Go over the history of Nehemiah, Daniel, Hosea, and Habakkuk. Stand with awe in the darkness of Gethsemane, and linger by the tomb in Joseph of Arimathea’s garden through those difficult days. Call to account the witnesses of the early church, and ask the apostles to relate the story of their desperate days.

Desperation is better than despair. Remember, our faith did not create our desperate days. Faith’s work is to sustain us through those days and to solve them. Yet the only alternative to desperate faith is despair. Faith holds on and prevails.

There is not a more heroic example of desperate faith than the story of the three Hebrew young men Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their situation was desperate, but they bravely answered, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Dan. 3: 17– 18). I especially like the words “But even if he does not”!

Let me briefly mention the Garden of Gethsemane and ask you to ponder its “nevertheless.” “If it be possible . . . nevertheless . . .” (Matt. 26: 39 KJV). Our Lord’s soul was overwhelmed by deep darkness. To trust meant experiencing anguish to the point of blood, and darkness to the very depths of hell— Nevertheless! Nevertheless!

Find a hymnal and sing your favorite hymn of desperate faith.
~S. Chadwick

When obstacles and trials seem
Like prison walls to be,
I do the little I can do
And leave the rest to Thee.
And when there seems no chance, no change,
From grief can set me free,
Hope finds its strength in helplessness,
And calmly waits for Thee.


Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 127-129). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Categories: spiritual