Saturday, December 8, 2012

Just when I needed You most...

I was reading from my Charles Stanley monthly In Touch magazine this morning. In this month's issue is an article written by Joanna Weaver about Mrs. Charles (Lettie B.) Cowman.  She summed up exactly how I feel about the devotional, "Springs in the Valley".  My sister-in-law (Gail) gave me a well-worn copy when my first husband left me.  It gave me so much comfort in those years.  It is now held together by a rubber band and has many, many highlighted passages (with dates inserted by me as particular passages spoke directly to me).

The Lord used this wonderful woman to speak to my broken heart years after she wrote of her own heartaches.  And isn't that exactly why we go through the trials we have to endure in this life?  To help others who are experiencing the same hurts and be able to offer the help that only the Lord can give.  That's what my Bible teaches, therefore that is what I believe.

Here is the entire article...

"Lettie B. Cowman:  Communion in the Desert, by Joanna Weaver

Browsing for a devotional one day, I discovered a dual edition of Lettie B. Cowman's classics, Streams in the Desert and Springs in the Valley.  The price was good, so I picked it up to use in my quiet time with the Lord.  But at the time, I found Cowman's 1920s language a bit antiquated and her subject matter depressing.  So I set it on the shelf, and there it stayed.

     That is, until a few years later when I hit a personal storm like none I'd ever encountered.  Suddenly, the devotions I'd dismissed became like bread and water to my spirit and the comforting light I needed to navigate this new, intensely dark night of my soul.

     Cowman, a lifelong missionary, wrote and compiled these classics throughout her husband Charles' long illness and after his eventual death.  Her words, born of both deep suffering and communion with the Lord, often brought me to tears during my difficult multi-year period.  They did more than comfort me - they taught me the kind of intimate prayer that one learns in the valleys of life.

     Cowman's words continue to shape my life.  God uses them to remind me gently, and at times pointedly, that it isn't my situation that needs changing - it's my heart.  But most of all, He speaks through these words of wisdom to assure me that I'm never alone.  For He promises to be the spring in my darkest valley and a stream of living water in my driest desert."

Ms. Weaver summed it up very nicely in those words.  If you are experiencing a deep, dark valley in your life, turn to the only One who gives comfort and peace, beyond human understanding. {Philippians 4:7 - "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."}

And for those of you who do find the older version hard to understand, Jim Reimann has edited Streams in the Desert into more modern language.  As for me, I shall ALWAYS prefer the King James version of the Bible to all others.  The older languages speak to me in a way no other has ever been able to do.

Mrs. Cowman often used others' words in her daily devotionals.  Here is a sampling from my preferred original version...

"December 11  'The LORD binded up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wounds.'  {Isaiah 30:26}

     When some friend has proved untrue - betrayed your simple trust; used you for his selfish end, and trampled in the dust the Past, with all its memories, and all its sacred ties, the light is blotted from the sky - for something in you dies.
     Bless your false and faithless friend, just smile and pass along - God must be the judge of it:  He knows the right and wrong...Life is short - don't waste the hours by brooding on the past;  His great laws are good and just; Truth conquers at the last.
     Red and deep our wounds may be - but after all the pain - God's own finger touches us, and we are healed again...With faith restored, and trust renewed - we look toward the stars - the world will see the smiles we have - but God will see the scars.    -  Scars, by Patience Strong

         'Love grows stronger when assailed;
          Love conquers where all else has failed.
          Love ever blesses those who curse;
          Love gives the better for the worse.
          Love unbinds others by its bonds;
          Love pours forgiveness from its wounds.'

                        Lord, let me love like Thee!"

1 comment:

  1. Wow. That speaks to me today, Sue. Thanks for sharing.