Tag Archives: nature

Max Lucado – Stay in the Race

Max Lucado

Don’t give up! In 1952 Florence Chadwick attempted to swim the ocean waters between Catalina Island and the California shore—through foggy weather and choppy seas.  After 15 hours her muscles began to cramp and her resolve weakened. She begged to be taken out of the water, but her mother riding in a boat alongside, urged her not to give up. She kept trying but grew exhausted.  Aids lifted her out of the water. As they paddled a few more minutes, the mist broke. She discovered shore was less than a half mile away. She said, “All I could see was the fog.  I think if I could’ve seen the shore, I would’ve made it!”

Friend, don’ t give up! The finish may be only strokes away. God may at this moment be lifting His hand to signal Gabriel to grab the trumpet. The shore may be closer than you think. Stay at it.  Stay in the race.  And don’t give up!

from Facing Your Giants

Our Daily Bread — Slack Tide

Our Daily Bread

Mark 6:30-32

He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” —Mark 6:31

I find it fascinating to consider the pull of the moon on our great oceans, which creates high and low tides. At the changing of the tide, there is a brief period of time called “slack tide” when the water is neither high nor low. According to scientists, this is when the water is “unstressed.” It is a quiet pause before the surging of tidal flow begins again.

Sometimes in our busy schedules we may feel pulled in different directions by competing responsibilities. In Jesus’ ministry, we see how He understood the demands made on His followers and the need for rest. Returning from a traveling ministry in teams of two, the Twelve reported the wonderful things that God had done through them (Mark 6:7-13,30). But Jesus responded: “‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves” (vv.31-32).

What responsibilities are pulling on you today? It is certainly acceptable to plan some rest and relaxation time to rejuvenate your body and soul for more fruitful service to others. Jesus advised it, and we all need it. He will meet you there. —Dennis Fisher

My Shepherd is the Lord

Who knows my needs, and I am blest;

By quiet streams, in pastures green,

He leads and makes me rest. —Psalter

Spending quiet time with God can bring quiet rest from God.

Bible in a year: Psalms 97-99; Romans 16

Alistair Begg – Isaac’s Example

Alistair Begg

Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening.  Genesis 24:63

Isaac’s evening occupation was very admirable. If those who spend so many hours in idle company, light reading, and useless pastimes could learn wisdom, they would find more profitable society and more interesting engagements in meditation than in the vanities that now hold such appeal for them. We would all know more, live closer to God, and grow in grace if we were alone more often. Meditation chews the cud and extracts the real nutriment from the mental food gathered elsewhere. When Jesus is the theme, meditation is sweet indeed. Isaac found Rebecca while engaged in private musings; many others have found their best beloved there.

Isaac’s choice of place was very admirable. The field provides a study full of texts for thought. From the cedar to the hyssop, from the soaring eagle down to the chirping grasshopper, from the blue expanse of heaven to a drop of dew, all these things are full of teaching, and when the eye is divinely opened, that teaching flashes upon the mind far more vividly than from books. Our little rooms are neither so healthy, so suggestive, so agreeable, or so inspiring as the fields. Let us count nothing common or unclean but feel that all created things point to their Maker, and the field will at once be holy ground.

The season was very admirable. The season of sunset as it draws a veil over the day is a fitting time for the soul’s repose when earthborn cares yield to the joys of heavenly communion. The glory of the setting sun excites our wonder, and the solemnity of approaching night awakens our awe. If the business of this day will permit it, it will be well, dear reader, if you can spare an hour to walk in the field at evening; but if not, the Lord is in the town too and will meet with you in your chamber or in the crowded street. Let your heart go out to meet Him.

Alistair Begg – Planted by God

Alistair Begg

The cedars of Lebanon that he planted.  Psalms 104:16

Lebanon’s cedars are emblematic of the Christian, in that they owe their planting entirely to the Lord. This is quite true of every child of God. He is not man-planted, nor self-planted, but God-planted. The mysterious hand of the divine Spirit dropped the living seed into a heart that He had Himself prepared for its reception. Every true heir of heaven knows that it is God who planted him.

Moreover, the cedars of Lebanon do not depend upon man for their watering; they stand on the lofty rock, unmoistened by human irrigation; and yet our heavenly Father supplies them. So it is with the Christian who has learned to live by faith. He is independent of man, even in temporal things; for his continued maintenance he looks to the Lord his God, and to Him alone. The dew of heaven is his portion, and the God of heaven is his fountain.

Again, the cedars of Lebanon are not protected by any mortal power. They owe nothing to man for their preservation from stormy wind and tempest. They are God’s trees, kept and preserved by Him, and by Him alone. It is precisely the same with the Christian. He is not a hothouse plant, sheltered from temptation; he stands in the most exposed position; he has no shelter, no protection, except this, that the broad wings of the eternal God always cover the cedars that He Himself has planted. Like cedars, believers are full of sap, having enough vitality to stay green, even amid the winter’s snows.

Lastly, the flourishing and majestic condition of the cedar is to the praise of God only. The Lord, even the Lord alone, has been everything to the cedars, and therefore David very sweetly puts it in one of the psalms, “Praise the Lord! Fruit trees and all cedars.”1 In the believer there is nothing that can magnify man; he is planted, nourished, and protected by the Lord’s own hand, and therefore to Him let all the glory be ascribed.

1Psalm 148:9

Our Daily Bread — Snapping, Snarling Thoughts

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 59

You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. —Psalm 59:16

Many years ago, my father and I hiked through Big Bend in Texas. It’s a national park now, but in those days it was rough country.

One night we were rolling out our sleeping bags when a couple with a dog asked if they could camp nearby. We welcomed their company and turned in for the night. They tethered their dog to a stake beside their tent.

Some hours later my father nudged me awake and turned his flashlight into the darkness. Illuminated by the light, we saw pairs of yellow eyes peering out of the shadows. A pack of snapping and snarling coyotes were closing in on the dog. Although we chased them off and our neighbors put the dog in their tent, we slept fitfully.

I think of that night when I read Psalm 59 and David’s twice-repeated imagery: “At evening they return, they growl like a dog” (vv.6,14). David was thinking of Saul’s army that was closing in on him. I think, however, of the thoughts that return to menace us. They come back at nightfall, snapping and snarling: “You’re stupid.” “You’re a failure.” “You’re useless.” “Who needs you?”

When we have such thoughts, we can revel in God’s unconditional, unending love. His steady devotion is our refuge in the dark night of self-doubt and fear (v.16). —David Roper

Dear Lord, I am so thankful that You love me

unconditionally. Please chase away destructive thoughts

that keep returning to take away my confidence in You

and Your work in me. I want to rest in You and Your love.

Knowing that God loves us can dispel doubt.

Bible in a year: Psalms 57-59; Romans 4

Max Lucado – Let the Father Guide You

Max Lucado

Are you watching a world out of control and don’t know what to do?  Stand back and let the Father guide you!

I remember a time when I was about nine years old.  My father and I were battling a storm in a fishing boat, honestly wondering if we’d make it back to shore. The boat was small, the waves were high, the sky rumbled, the lightening zigzagged. . . As dad tried for shore, wave after wave picked us up and slapped us down. I looked for the coast, for the sun, even for other boats. I saw only waves—everything was frightening. There was only one reassuring sight, the face of my father. Right then I made a decision. I quit looking at the storm and looked only at my father.

God wants us to do the same. What good does it do to focus on the storm anyway?  Focus your eyes on Him.

Charles Spurgeon – Continental tour H4


Suggested Reading: Job 38:22-30

We went up the Mer de Glace on mules. I had the great satisfaction of hearing three or four avalanches come rolling down like thunder. In descending, I was alone and in front, I sat down and mused, but I soon sprang up, for I thought the avalanche was coming right on me, there was such a tremendous noise and rushing. We crossed many places where the snow, in rushing down from the top, had swept away every tree and every stone, and left nothing but the stumps of the trees, and a kind of slide from the top of the mountain to the very valley. What extraordinary works of God there are to be seen here! We have no idea of what God is. As I went among these valleys, I felt like a little creeping insect, wondering what the world could be, but having no idea of its greatness. I sank lower and lower, and growing smaller and smaller, while my soul kept crying out “Great God, how infinite art thou! What worthless worms are we!”

For meditation: (Spurgeon): If you cannot travel, remember this sweet verse:-

“But in his looks a glory stands,

The noblest labour of thine hands;”

Get a view of Christ, and you have seen more than mountains, cascades, and valleys, and seas can ever show you. Thunders may bring their sublimest uproar, and lightnings their awful glory; earth may give its beauty, and stars their brightness; but all these put together can never rival HIM;

“God in the person of his Son,

Has all his mightiest works outdone.”

Part of nos. 331-332

23 July

Our Daily Bread — Avoid Dehydration

Our Daily Bread

John 7:37-39

If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. —John 7:37

A couple of times in the past few years I’ve experienced dehydration and, believe me, it is not something I want to repeat. It happened once after I suffered a torn hamstring while cross-country skiing, and another time in the 115-degree heat of an Israeli desert. Both times I experienced dizziness, disorientation, loss of clear vision, and a host of other symptoms. I learned the hard way that water is vital to maintaining my well-being.

My experience with dehydration gives me a new appreciation for Jesus’ invitation: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37). His announcement was dramatic, particularly in terms of the timing. John notes that it was the last day of the “great feast”—the annual festival commemorating the wandering of the Jews in the wilderness—which climaxed with a ceremonial pouring of water down the temple steps to recall God’s provision of water for the thirsty wanderers. At that point, Jesus rose and proclaimed that He is the water we all desperately need.

Living like we really need Jesus—talking to Him and depending on His wisdom—is vital to our spiritual well-being. So, stay connected to Jesus, for He alone can satisfy your thirsty soul! —Joe Stowell

Dear Lord, forgive me for thinking that I can do life

without the water of Your presence, advice, counsel,

comfort, and conviction. Thank You that You are

indeed the living water that I so desperately need.

Come to Jesus for the refreshing power of His living water.

Bible in a year: Job 32-33 & Acts 14

Alistair Begg – A Living Nightmare

Alistair Begg

The ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows.  Genesis 41:4

Pharaoh’s dream has too often been my waking experience. My days of laziness have ruinously destroyed all that I had achieved in times of zealous endeavor; my seasons of coldness have frozen all the genial glow of my periods of fervency and enthusiasm; and my fits of worldliness have thrown me back from my advances in the divine life. I had need to beware of lean prayers, lean praises, lean duties, and lean experiences, for these will eat up the fat of my comfort and peace.

If I neglect prayer for never so short a time, I lose all the spirituality to which I had attained; if I draw no fresh supplies from heaven, the old corn in my granary is soon consumed by the famine that rages in my soul. When the caterpillars of indifference, the worms of worldliness, and the snares of self-indulgence lay my heart completely desolate and make my soul languish, all my former fruitfulness and growth in grace avails me nothing whatever.

How anxious should I be to have no lean-fleshed days, no ill-favored hours! If every day I journeyed toward the goal of my desires I would soon reach it, but backsliding leaves me still far from the prize of my high calling and robs me of the advances that I had so strenuously made.

The only way in which all my days can be like the fat cows is to feed them in the right meadow, to spend them with the Lord, in His service, in His company, in His fear, and in His way. Why should not every year be richer than the past, in love and usefulness and joy? I am nearer the celestial hills; I have had more experience of my Lord and should be more like Him.

O Lord, keep far from me the curse of leanness of soul; let me not have to bemoan such leanness, but may I be well-fed and nourished in Your house, that I may praise Your name.


Our Daily Bread — A Flying Miracle

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 104:10-24

O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions. —Psalm 104:24

Among God’s creatures, the butterfly is one of the most stunningly beautiful! Its gentle flight, colorful wings, and amazing migratory patterns are traits that make the butterfly a masterpiece of the natural world.

This flying insect, while supplying us with visual enjoyment, also supplies us with amazing examples of the marvels of God’s creative work.

For instance, the majestic monarch butterfly can travel 3,000 miles on its migration to Central America—only to end up at the same tree its parents or even grandparents landed on a generation or two earlier. It does this guided by a brain the size of a pinhead.

Or consider the monarch’s metamorphosis. After the caterpillar builds a chrysalis around itself, it releases a chemical that turns its insides to mush—no perceptible parts. Somehow from this emerges the brain, internal parts, head, legs, and wings of a butterfly.

One butterfly expert said, “The creation of the body of a caterpillar into the body and wings of a butterfly is, without doubt, one of the wonders of life on earth.” Another expert feels that this metamorphosis is “rightly regarded as a miracle.”

“How manifold are [God’s] works!” (Ps. 104:24)—and the butterfly is but one of them. —Dave Branon

We stand amazed, God, at the awesome creation You

allow us to enjoy. From distant galaxies to beautiful

butterflies, You have given us a world that speaks loudly

of Your love for us. Thank You, Lord, for creation.

Creation’s design points to the Master Designer.

Bible in a year: Job 22-24 & Acts 11

Alistair Begg – An Abiding Stream

Alistair Begg

It shall continue in summer as in winter. Zechariah 14:8

The streams of living water that flow from Jerusalem are not dried up by the parching heats of sultry midsummer any more than they are frozen by the cold winds of blustering winter.

Rejoice, O my soul, that you are spared to testify of the faithfulness of the Lord. The seasons change, and you change, but your Lord abides evermore the same, and the streams of His love are as deep, as broad, and as full as ever. The heats of business cares and scorching trials make me need the cooling influences of the river of His grace; I may go at once and drink to the full from the inexhaustible fountain, for in summer and in winter it pours forth its flood. The upper springs are never scanty, and blessed be the name of the Lord, the lower springs cannot fail either.

Elijah found Cherith dried up, but Jehovah was still the same God of providence. Job said his brethren were like deceitful brooks, but he found his God an overflowing river of consolation. The Nile is the great confidence of Egypt, but its floods are variable; our Lord is evermore the same. By turning the course of the Euphrates, Cyrus took the city of Babylon; but no power, human or infernal, can divert the current of divine grace.

The tracks of ancient rivers have been found all dry and desolate, but the streams that take their rise on the mountains of divine sovereignty and infinite love shall ever be full to the brim. Generations melt away, but the course of grace is unaltered. The river of God may sing with greater truth than the brook in the poem–

Men may come, and men may go,

But I go on forever.

How happy you are, my soul, to be led beside such still waters! Never wander to other streams, lest you hear the Lord’s rebuke, “What do you gain by going to Egypt to drink the waters of the Nile?”1

1 – Jeremiah 2:18

Our Daily Bread — Let’s Stick Together

Our Daily Bread

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

For in fact the body is not one member but many. —1 Corinthians 12:14

Most regions of the world are familiar with the amazing phenomenon of snow. Snowflakes are beautiful, uniquely crafted ice crystals. Individual snowflakes are fragile, and they quickly melt if they land on your hand. Yet, en masse they create a force to be reckoned with. They can shut down major cities while creating beautiful landscapes of snow-laden trees whose pictures decorate calendars and become the subject of artwork. They provide pleasure on the ski slopes and joy for children as they make snowmen and ammunition for snowball fights. All because they stick together.

So it is with those of us who follow Christ. Each of us has been uniquely gifted with the capacity to make a contribution to the work of Christ. We were never intended to live in isolation but to work together to become a great force for God and the advance of His cause. As Paul reminds us, the body of Christ “is not one member but many” (1 Cor. 12:14). All of us are to use our gifts to serve one another so that together we can make a significant difference in our world.

Put your giftedness to work, joyfully cooperate with the giftedness of those around you, and let the wind of the Spirit use you for His glory! —Joe Stowell

Lord, teach us to use our strengths in cooperation with

the strengths of others. Help us to serve as one so that

we might know the joy of the power of our togetherness

for Your name’s sake and the advance of Your kingdom.

We can accomplish more together than we can alone.


Alistair Begg – Climbing a Mountain

Alistair Begg

Get you up to a high mountain.  Isaiah 40:9

Our knowledge of Christ is somewhat like climbing one of the mountains in Wales. When you are at the base you see only a little: the mountain itself appears to be only half as high as it really is. Confined in a little valley, you discover scarcely anything but the rippling brooks as they descend into the stream at the foot of the mountain. Climb the first rising knoll, and the valley lengthens and widens beneath your feet. Go higher, and you see the country for four or five miles around, and you are delighted with the widening prospect. Higher still, and the scene enlarges; until at last, when you are on the summit and look east, west, north, and south, you see almost all of England lying before you. There is a forest in some distant county, perhaps two hundred miles away, and here the sea, and there a shining river and the smoking chimneys of a manufacturing town, or the masts of the ships in a busy port. All these things please and delight you, and you say, “I could not have imagined that so much could be seen at this elevation.”

Now, the Christian life is of the same order. When we first believe in Christ, we see only a little of Him. The higher we climb, the more we discover of His beauty. But who has ever gained the summit? Who has known all the heights and depths of the love of Christ that passes knowledge? When Paul had grown old and was sitting gray-haired and shivering in a dungeon in Rome, he was able to say with greater emphasis than we can, “I know whom I have believed,”1 for each experience had been like the climbing of a hill, each trial had been like ascending another summit, and his death seemed like gaining the top of the mountain, from which he could see the whole panorama of the faithfulness and love of Him to whom he had committed his soul. Get up, dear friend, into a high mountain.

1 – 2 Timothy 1:12


Joyce Meyer – What’s the Rush


To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven. —Ecclesiastes 3:1

Much of the world is in a hurry, always rushing, yet very few people even know where they are going in life. If we want to be at peace with ourselves and enjoy life, we must stop rushing all the time. People rush to get to yet another event that has no real meaning for them or that they really don’t even want to attend. Hurry is the pace of the twenty-first century. Rushing has become a disease of epidemic proportions.We hurry so much, we finally come to the place where we cannot slow down.

I can remember the days when I worked so hard and hurried so much that even if I took a vacation, it was almost over by the time I geared down enough to rest. Hurry was definitely one of the “peace stealers” in my life and still can be, if I do not stay alert to its pressure. Life is too precious to rush through it. I find at times that a day has gone by in a blur. At the conclusion of it, I know I was very busy all day, yet I cannot really remem¬ber enjoying much, if any, of it. I have committed to learn to do things in God’s rhythm, not the world’s pace.

Jesus was never in a hurry when He was here on earth, and God is absolutely not in a hurry now. Ecclesiastes 3:1 states, “there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.” We should let each thing in our lives have its season and realize we can enjoy that season without rushing into the next one.


Max Lucado – Sheep Can’t Sleep


Millions of Americans have trouble sleeping!  You may be one of them. Only one other living creature has as much trouble resting as we do.  They are woolly, simpleminded, and slow…sheep. Sheep can’t sleep!  For sheep to sleep, everything must be just right. No predators. No tension in the flock.  Sheep need help.  They need a shepherd to “lead them” and help them “lie down in green pastures.” Without a shepherd, they can’t rest.

Without a shepherd, neither can we!  Psalm 23:2 says, “He, (the Shepherd) makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.”  Who’s the active one?  Who’s in charge? The Shepherd!  With our eyes on the Shepherd, we’ll get some sleep. Isaiah 26:3 reminds us of the promise,  “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.”


Alistair Begg – Who’s Going Thirsty?


Let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17

The invitation is to “take . . . without price.” Jesus wants no payment or preparation. He seeks no recommendation from our virtuous emotions. If you have no good feelings, but if you are willing, you are invited; therefore come! If you have no belief and no repentance, come to Him, and He will give them to you. Come just as you are, and take without money and without price. He gives Himself to the needy.

In nineteenth-century Britain the drinking fountains at the corners of the streets were valuable institutions; it would have been a strange and foolish sight to see someone standing at the fountain declaring, “I cannot drink because I do not have any money.” However poor an individual may be, there is the fountain, and just as he is, he may drink of it without cost. Thirsty passengers, as they go by, whether they are dressed poorly or expensively, do not look for any authorization to drink; the existence of the fountain is sufficient warrant for taking its water freely. The generosity of some good friends has put in place the refreshing supply, and we take it and ask no questions.

Perhaps the only people who go thirsty through the street where there is a drinking fountain are the fine ladies and gentlemen who are in their carriages. They are very thirsty but cannot think of being so vulgar as to get out to drink. It would demean them, they think, to drink at a common drinking fountain: so they ride by with parched lips.

How many there are who are rich in their own good works and cannot therefore come to Christ! “I will not be saved,” they say, “in the same way as the prostitute or the blasphemer.” What! Go to heaven in the same way as a chimney sweep? Is there no pathway to glory but the path that led the dying thief there? I will not be saved that way. Such proud boasters must remain without the living water; but “Let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”


Our Daily Bread — Star Shepherd


Ezekiel 34:11-16

Why do you say, . . . “My way is hidden from the LORD”? —Isaiah 40:27

In the spring, shepherds in Idaho move their flocks from the lowlands into the mountains. Thousands of sheep move up the passes into the high country to summer pasture.

My wife and I came across a flock on Shaw Mountain last week. It was bedded down in a meadow by a quiet stream—a picturesque scene that evoked memories of Psalm 23.

But where was the shepherd? The sheep appeared to be alone—until a few broke away from the flock and began to wander toward a distant gully. Then we heard a shrill whistle from above. Looking up, we saw the shepherd sitting high on a hill above the sheep, keeping watch over his flock. A mountain dog and two Border collies stood at his side. The dogs, responding to the shepherd’s signal, bounded down the hill and herded the drifting sheep back to the flock where they belonged.

In the same way, the Good Shepherd is watching over you. Even though you cannot see Him, He can see you! He knows you by name and knows all about you. You are the sheep of His pasture (Ezek. 34:31). God promises that He will “seek out” His sheep, “feed them in good pasture,” and “bind up the broken” (vv.12,14,16).

You can trust in God’s watchful care. —David Roper

I trust in God, I know He cares for me

On mountain bleak or on the stormy sea;

Though billows roll, He keeps my soul,

My heavenly Father watches over me.

—William Martin. © Renewal 1938. The Rodeheaver Company.

The Lamb who died to save us is the Shepherd who lives to care for us.

Joyce Meyer – Light Shines Through Cracked Pots


Let not those who wait and hope and look for You, O Lord of hosts, be put to shame through me; let not those who seek and inquire for and require You [as their vital necessity] be brought to confusion and dishonor through me, O God of Israel. —Psalm 69:6

Everyone is like a pot that carries life. But not everyone carries a presence that blesses others. Religion tries to force people to follow laws to make them perfect, like pots without cracks. But if a light is put within a flawless pot and then covered, no one is able to see the light inside the pot. Perfect pots are not able to reveal internal light to illumine the way for others.

God chooses to shine through imperfect, cracked pots. People are blessed when our cracked pots let the light of Jesus shine through. Choose to be a glory-filled, cracked pot rather than an empty, pretty vessel.

Max Lucado – You Harvest What You Plant


Pretend you’ve come to visit me.  I’m working in my greenhouse.  (Neither my house nor my thumb is green, but let’s pretend.) It’s the perfect spot for flowers and fruit.  You’ve always thought I was a bit crazy, but what I do next removes all doubt. I strip seeds off weeds—crab grass, grass burrs. You can’t believe what you’ve just seen.

“I thought you wanted a greenhouse full of flowers and fruit!” you say.

“I do,” I answer.

You ask, “Then don’t you think you ought to plant flower seeds and fruit seeds?”

My foolish response, “Do you have any idea how much those seeds cost?  No thanks, I’m taking the cheap and easy route.”

Think for a moment of your heart as a greenhouse. Consider your thoughts as seed. Some become flowers.  Others weeds.  Sow seeds of hope and enjoy optimism. Sow seeds of doubt and expect insecurity.

Galatians 6:7 says, “People harvest only what they plant.”

Alistair Begg – An Explanation of Trials


You are my refuge in the day of disaster. Jeremiah 17:17

The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. It is true that God’s Word says, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace”; and it is a great truth that faith is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above. But life confirms that if the experience of the righteous is “like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day,” sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer’s sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light.

There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the early stages of their Christian life; they have walked along the “green pastures” by the side of the “still waters.” But suddenly they find that the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the promised land they have to endure the wilderness; in place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, “Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen.” Do not say that if you are walking in darkness. The best of God’s saints must drink the bitter potion; the dearest of His children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his heart in constant tune.

Perhaps the Lord gave you in the beginning a smooth and unclouded path because you were weak and timid. He moderated the wind on account of your weakness, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten branches of self-reliance, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.