I love Streams in the Desert and have been reading it during my morning devotional for the past couple of years. The book speaks do powerfully to me because the author really understood suffering. It wasn't merely intellectual because she was living through difficult times as she wrote about keeping the faith when life is hard. Mrs. Charles Cowman was caring for her dying husband during the years she penned this now devotional classic. There is just something about someone who has "been there" to give us wise advice. Suffering is a common denominator. Suffering in one area of life gives us more compassion for those who suffer in a different way. Suffering expands our perspective while enlarging our heart. On December 13th, Cowman quotes J.R. Miller when she writes, "If you are in the shadows because of some strange, mysterious providence, do not be afraid. Simply go on in faith and love, never doubting. God is watching, and He will bring good and beauty out of all your pain and tears." We can believe Mrs. Cowman because she writes from experience.
How comforting to know pain and tears are not random or meaningless, but that tears touch the heart of God. God does not simply weep for us, but intricately weaves purpose and meaning through our pain - carefully preparing us for what lies ahead.
Your suffering may be because of the loss of someone dear, the loss of a dream, declining health, the worry and concern over a loved one's well being, the anguish of watching someone self-destruct, a job loss with financial reversals, a break in an important relationship, a myriad of troubles...or several seemingly disasters all at once.
We can be sure that during the hours of our sufferings if we turn ourselves toward God, our hearts will begin to overflow with compassion for others. He wastes not a tear, a broken heart, nor an anguished spirit. Turned over to the hand of the Master, our suffering transforms into a beautiful tender sympathy that flows back to others in their time of need. Do not be afraid.