Strong Hands and Brave Hearts

strong hands, brave hearts

Editor’s Note: For our American readers, today is Memorial Day. Let’s remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces to protect and defend our freedom. Please share with us whom you are honoring. We pause today with great thanks for their service and sacrifice.

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That person will receive the crown of life… promised. — James 1:12

The greatest helpers of humanity have been its cross-bearers. The leaders of men have suffered in loneliness; the prophets have learned their lessons in the school of pain. The corals in the sheltered lagoon grow rank and useless; those that are broken and crushed by the surf form the living rock and the foundations of continents.

Ease has not produced greatness.

Men who have had to struggle with an unfavorable environment, to fight cold, to buffet the storm, to blast the rock or wring a livelihood from a niggardly soil, have won character by their pains.

The bird rises against a strong head wind, not only in spite of the wind but because of it. The opposing force becomes a lifting force if faced at the right angle.

The storm may buffet ships and rend the rigging, but it makes strong hands and brave hearts. Oh, fellow-voyager amid the storms and calms of life’s wide sea, “Spread thy sails to catch the favoring breezes of adversity.”

If the greatest character of all time, even He who was the very touchstone of destiny, could be made perfect only through suffering, is it not probable that you and I must be also?

The best things all lie beyond some battle plain: you must fight your way across the field to get them!

High natures must be thunder-scarred

With many a scarring wrong!

Naught unmarred with struggle hard Can make the soul’s sinews strong.

~Lowell

Take the hardest thing in your life — the place of difficulty, outward or inward, and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot. Just there He can bring your soul into blossom. ~Lilias Trotter

This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. — 1 John 5:4

It is easy to love Him when the blue is in the sky,

When the summer winds are blowing, and we smell the roses nigh;

There is little effort needed to obey His precious will

When it leads through flower-decked valley, or over sun-kissed hill.

It is when the rain is falling, or the mist hangs in the air,

When the road is dark and rugged, and the wind no longer fair,

When the rosy dawn has settled in a shadowland of gray,

That we find it hard to trust Him, and are slower to obey.

It is easy to trust Him when the singing birds have come,

And their songs of praise are echoed in our heart and in our home;

But it’s when we miss the music, and the days are dull and drear,

That we need a faith triumphant over every doubt and fear.

And our blessed Lord will give it; what we lack He will supply;

Let us ask in faith believing — on His promises rely;

He will ever be our Leader, whether smooth or rough the way,

And will prove Himself sufficient for the needs of every day.

Trusting even when it appears you have been forsaken; praying when it seems your words are simply entering a vast expanse where no one hears and no voice answers; believing that God’s love is complete and that He is aware of your circumstances, even when your world seems to grind on as if setting its own direction and not caring for life or moving one inch in response to your petitions; desiring only what God’s hands have planned for you; waiting patiently while seemingly starving to death, with your only fear being that your faith might fail — “this is the victory that has overcome the world”; this is genuine faith indeed.

~George MacDonald

Excerpted with permission from Streams in the Desert Morning and Evening by L. B. E. Cowman, copyright Zondervan.

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Your Turn

Today, you may be struggling under a very heavy burden. Take that hardest thing and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot. He will! Come share your thoughts with us 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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