June 2

“Against hope Abraham believed in hope with the result that he became the father of many nations according to the pronouncement, ‘so will your descendants be.’ Without being weak in faith, he considered his own body as dead (because he was about one hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.” Romans 4:18-19

“Great faith must have great trials.”

We shall never forget a remark that George Mueller once made to a gentleman who had asked him the best way to have strong faith.

“The only way,” replied the patriarch of faith, “to learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.” This is very true. The time to trust is when all else fails.

Dear one, you scarcely realize the value of your present opportunity; if you are passing through great afflictions you are in the very soul of the strongest faith, and if you will only let go, He will teach you in these hours the mightiest hold upon His throne which you can ever know.

“Be not afraid, only believe.” And if you are afraid, just look up and say, “What time I am afraid I will trust in thee,” and you will yet thank God for the school of sorrow which was to you the school of faith. (Streams in the Desert)

It is beginning to dawn on me that nights are gifts from God. As a boy, the dark terrified me. I remember crouching in bed, pulling covers over me like a cotton force field, quoting mantra-like the first Bible verse I ever committed to memory—“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee” (Psalm 56:3). The night no longer frightens me; in fact, I embrace it as solace for body and spirit. Insects exclaim the glory of their Creator while I do the same in mind and heart. Traffic sounds in the distance encourage me for the very fact that they remain in the distance. This space to be, the close of a day to consider what it means to be, is a divine gift, and I guard it jealously. When schedules become hectic and work demands exceed the time available to fulfill them, I experience the full grief cycle, albeit in a shortened span—denial, anger, acceptance. But occasionally at night there is no grief, only mercy—no anger and nothing to accept apart from a peace so strong that it must be a sweet shadow of the greater peace that awaits beyond time and space. Author Barbara Brown Taylor encourages just such a transformed view of the night in “Learning to Walk in the Dark.” Instead of avoiding the dark’s mystery or opposing it as some nocturnal enemy, try seeing it as a gift. Pause, remember, evaluate, meditate, dream, pray, and most of all, enjoy.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.” Isaiah 45:3, KJV

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