Shut up to faith–A prisoner of the LORD

I’ve been reading Mrs. Charles Cowman’s devotionals on and off for several years now.  I think I started about the time my parents were diagnosed with terminal cancer. Wow, that’s been seven years ago, now.  Seems like another lifetime ago.  When I started blogging again from Canada, my blog title and life verse triggered “Streams in the Desert”, and I remembered her online devotional, and found it again.  I am amazed at the relevance of her writings to the road I’m on right now.

The past few days have been especially convicting.  I feel like God whispered in her ear, and she started writing to me, messages that I would receive on my own lonely journey nearly a hundred years later.  Messages of encouragement, enlightenment, and hope.  Noting blessed comradeship with the Saints, and with the Lord Jesus.

Today’s reading is about being a prisoner of the Lord, as Paul wrote.  He was removed from his familiar and loved work, and shut up in prison.  Instead of despairing, he puts himself to work, writing letters of comfort, and optimistic incentive.  When imprisoned with Silas, they did not give up hope and succumb to depression, but sang hymns of praise to God in their confinement.  Today’s reading dovetails with one a couple days ago, about being “shut up to faith”, being put in a hard place so that we learn God’s perfect way of faith.

It’s easy for me to be busy with God’s work.  I thrive in situations where I can help others.  I feel useful, needed, and appreciated, I like to be “busy”.   For whatever reason, the Lord has found it necessary to shut me in, to separate me from the people and the work that I love, and to confine me to a place where my sense of self-worth is not dependent on anything I do, but on who HE is, and His plan for my life.  I strive to learn these lessons with grace, following the example of Paul and Silas, singing praise to God in their darkest hour, relying on His promise, that He causes all things to work together for the good of those (for me!) who love Him and are called to His purpose.

“Taken aside by Jesus,
To feel the touch of His hand;
To rest for a while in the shadow
Of the Rock in a weary land.

“Taken aside by Jesus,
In the loneliness dark and drear,
Where no other comfort may reach me,
Than His voice to my heart so dear.
“Taken aside by Jesus,
To be quite alone with Him,
To hear His wonderful tones of love
‘Mid the silence and shadows dim.

“Taken aside by Jesus,
Shall I shrink from the desert place;
When I hear as I never heard before,
And see Him ‘face to face’?”

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