What if our pain and suffering is God’s mercy? What if unanswered prayer is God’s best answer for our good and His glory? The questions have haunted my thoughts this past week. What if the daily tribulation that continues without end, the thing we want taken from us, is God’s grace doing a mighty work in us in which we cannot even begin to understand?

I realized something this week, after speaking with a friend regarding having “new eyes” to see what God sees . . . I looked at my Amazon Author page, looking at the miraculous work God has done in and through my writings (I fall to my knees daily, in awe), and it is beautiful. The daily emails I receive, testifying to how the books have changed lives, and even saved them from suicide, bring me to a continual place of humble submission to my Lord and King. But, in that moment, as I reflected, something in my vision transformed. I saw it all with “new eyes.” Put on display in God’s glory, it is all so BEAUTIFUL beyond words, but the truth is, those books on display are my pain and sufferings, my darkest days and sleepless nights. They are my emptiest places, pits of despair. And God has taken it all and redeemed every tear that’s been shed. He’s used it all to not only transform my own life, but countless lives around the world. It’s not easy to accept, we all have our own moment in the Garden of Gethsemane, sometimes daily, pleading with God to provide “another way.” But when silence falls, we know, there is no other path than the one He has laid before us. And as I reflect on my own personal Cross, I fall to my knees in much the same way that I know I will when I see Him face to face . . . breathless, speechless, in utter awe of who He is. I KNOW that my Redeemer lives. All glory to Him.

Today, L.B. Cowman’s Streams in the Desert spoke volumes to what the Spirit has been whispering to me, quite possibly it’s what you need today as well, to just keep taking the next step of faith . . . even through The Hardest Things:

May 17

    Your Crown of Glory

They won the victory over him
because of the blood of the lamb
and the word of their testimony.
They didn’t love their life so much
that they refused to give it up.
(Revelation 12:11 GW)

When James and John came to Christ with their mother, asking Him to give them the best place in the kingdom, He did not refuse their request, but told them it would be given to them if they could do His work, drink His cup, and be baptized with His baptism.

Do we want the competition? The greatest things are always hedged about by the hardest things, and we, too, shall find mountains and forests and chariots of iron. Hardship is the price of coronation. Triumphal arches are not woven out of rose blossoms and silken cords, but of hard blows and bloody scars. The very hardships that you are enduring in your life today are given by the Master for the explicit purpose of enabling you to win your crown.

Do not wait for some ideal situation, some romantic difficulty, some far-away emergency; but rise to meet the actual conditions which the Providence of God has placed around you today. Your crown of glory lies embedded in the very heart of these things–those hardships and trials that are pressing you this very hour, week and month of your life. The hardest things are not those that the world knows of. Down in your secret soul unseen and unknown by any but Jesus, there is a little trial that you would not dare to mention that is harder for you to bear than martyrdom.

There, beloved, lies your crown. God help you to overcome, and sometime wear it. –Selected

“It matters not how the battle goes,
The day how long;
Faint not! Fight on!
Tomorrow comes the song.”

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