Do Not Lose Heart

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Do not lose heart. — 2 Corinthians 4:16

One day a naturalist, out in his garden, observed a most unusually large and beautiful butterfly, fluttering as though in great distress; it seemed to be caught as though it could not release itself. The naturalist, thinking to release the precious thing, took hold of the wings and set it free. It flew but a few feet and fell to the ground dead.

He picked up the poor thing, took it into his laboratory, and put it under a magnifying glass to discover the cause of its death. There he found the lifeblood flowing from the tiny arteries of its wings. Nature had fastened it to its chrysalis and was allowing it to flutter and flutter so that its wings might grow strong. It was the muscle-developing process that nature was giving the dear thing so that it might have an unusual range among the flowers and gardens. If it had only fluttered long enough, the butterfly would have come forth ready for the wide range; but release ended the beautiful dream.

So with God’s children: how the Father wishes for them wide ranges in experience and truth. He permits us to be fastened to some form of struggle. We would tear ourselves free. We cry out in our distress and sometimes think Him cruel that He does not release us. He permits us to flutter and flutter on. Struggle seems to be His program sometimes.

Prayer alone will hold us steady while in the struggles, so we keep sweet and learn, oh, such wonderful lessons.

God laid upon my back a grievous load, A heavy cross to bear along the road.

I staggered on, and lo! one weary day, An angry lion sprang across my way.

I prayed to God, and swift at His command The cross became a weapon in my hand.

It slew my raging enemy, and then Became a cross upon my back again.

I reached a desert. O’er the burning track I persevered, the cross upon my back.

No shade was there, and in the cruel sunI sank at last, and thought my days were done.

But lo! the Lord works many a blest surprise — The cross became a tree before my eyes!

I slept; I woke, to feel the strength of ten. I found the cross upon my back again.

And thus through all my days from then to this, The cross, my burden, has become my bliss.

Nor ever shall I lay the burden down,For God someday will make the cross a crown!

~Amos R. Wells

You are bound to a cross. I entreat you not to struggle. The more lovingly the cross is carried by the soul, the lighter it becomes!

Excerpted from Springs in the Valley by L.B. Cowman, copyright Zondervan.

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Your Turn

How often do we beg to be released from painful or frustrating circumstances? What might the Lord be training us in through our struggles? If you’re angry with God today because you feel He’s cruelly not answering your prayers, pause today and talk with Him about it. He loves you! Come join the conversation on our blog! We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

L.B. Cowman

L. B. Cowman worked as a pioneer missionary with her husband in Japan and China from 1901 to 1917, during which time they helped found the Oriental Missionary Society. When Mr. Cowman's poor health forced the couple to return to the United States, Mrs. Cowman turned her attention to caring for her husband until his death six years later. Out of Mrs. Cowman's experiences and heartbreak came her first book, Streams in the Desert, followed by its companion Springs in the Valley. During the next twenty-five years, Mrs. Cowman inspired several nationwide Scripture distribution campaigns and wrote seven more books. Finally, on Easter Sunday in 1960, at the age of ninety, Mrs. Cowman met face-to-face the God she had served so faithfully for nearly a century.

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