Streams in the Desert
A devotional thought from Ken Easley for “Water from the Rock”
In Exodus 17 God provided streams in the desert for thirsty Israelites. Later, Isaiah the prophet foresaw a time when Israel’s arid land would be restored by streams in the desert: “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert” (Isa. 35:5-6, HCSB). The Gospel writers recognized that this prophecy began to be fulfilled in Jesus’ ministry (Matt. 11:5).
Lettie Cowman’s meditation on Isaiah 35:5-6 birthed a best-selling book, Streams in the Desert. Lettie and her husband Charles were missionaries of a century ago. They served brilliantly in Japan (1901-18) but had to return home because of Charles’ declining health [see Paul King, “Lettie Cowman (1870-1960)” in The Encyclopedia of Christian Literature, vol. 2, ed. George Thomas Kurian (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2010), 265-66]. As she watched his suffering and pain increase, Lettie began writing devotionals. For each day of the year, she included a Scripture verse and a quotation from another author. The book (published in 1925 under the name “Mrs. Charles. E. Cowman”) became a sensation. Readers connected with Lettie’s insights. They too often struggled with how to relate their sufferings with God’s good purposes.
If you are challenged by personal suffering and would like to walk beside a fellow-traveler whose thoughts have inspired multiplied thousands, consider Streams in the Desert. Many editions are available, but you can read online for free—or arrange to have its daily devotional arrive as an email. For easy access, enter “streams in the desert online” into your Internet search engine.
Pause and Reflect
• What is the difference between grumbling and seeking to relate bad circumstances to God’s good purposes?
• Which “stream in the desert” will you ask God to provide for your spiritual refreshment today?