When I read a passage a couple of days ago in Streams in the Desert, it all came back to me: the stunning, the searing because God wanted me to move to Africa, the heart-ripping ache at the thought of moving half a world away from my kids and future grandkids, deprived of the joy of living near them.
In her beloved classic devotional penned in 1925, Mrs. Charles E. Cowman wrote of the way God taps us on the shoulder and gives us marching orders. Oh, how it hurts!
She wrote, in her endearing old-fashioned way:
“Oh, this is bitter work for Him and us—bitter for us to go, but equally bitter for Him to cause us pain; yet it must be done.… He therefore puts us forth.
“Take heart! It could not be better to stay when He determines otherwise; and if the loving hand of our Lord puts us forth, it must be well. On, in His name…!”
“He goeth before thee. Whatever awaits us is encountered first by Him.”
What a comforting reality: He goes ahead of us!
F.B. Meyer puts it this way:
“The Oriental shepherd was always ahead of his sheep. He was down in front. Any attack upon them had to take him into account. Now God is down in front. He is in the tomorrows. It is tomorrow that fills men with dread. God is there already. All the tomorrows of our life have to pass Him before they can get to us.”
Today is God asking you to leave all things dear and follow where He is pointing? Is it tearing you apart?
Are you tempted to dig in and refuse to go?
Mrs. Cowman reminds us that God “would not ask you to pass through [painful experiences] unless He was sure that they were not too difficult for your feet, or too trying for your strength.”
Or perhaps you have said to God, “Here I am. Send me,” but your mind zings with questions and your heart feels like bursting and you can’t sleep at night because you want to control it all—yourself, your work, your timetable, finances, conditions, God—and you wonder if you have what it takes to carry out this overwhelming task.
If so, you’ll enjoy Mrs. Cowman’s conclusion:
“This is the Blessed Life—not anxious to see far in front, nor careful about the next step, not eager to choose the path, nor weighted with the heavy responsibilities of the future, but quietly following behind the Shepherd, one step at a time.”