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Streams In The Desert

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My family and I had walked through a spiritually devastating desert for several years. My oldest daughter had been diagnosed with a severe learning disability known as NLD (non-verbal learning disability similar to Asperger’s Syndrome). For more information you can go to On top of that she’d developed a complicated depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She was eleven years old and in fifth grade. My youngest was eight at the time and so very scared about what was happening to her big sister.

This month my oldest will turn twenty and the severity of the problems continue but we are learning to trust God no matter what. Without Christ in our lives, our church, and many friends, I can’t see anyway we would have made it this far. But I’m a big believer in the power of prayer and in the power of hope. I even have a carved sculpture in my office that simply says, HOPE.


Several years ago, Robin Lee Hatcher, recommended I buy a copy of a daily devotional originally published in1925. That devotional is titled, Streams in the Desert, written by L.B. Cowman, and updated in modern language by James Reimann. Streams in the Desert is relief for the parched soul.

Yesterday was September 7th (Labor Day) and I posted over at You might want to check that out as this is a continuation of that post. Streams in the Desert, begins with Psalm 46:1- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. The first sentence: “Why didn’t God help me sooner?”


And then later the text continues.

"I once heard the following statement from a simple old man, and I have never forgotten it: "When God tests you, it is a good time to test Him by putting His promises to the test and then claiming from Him exactly what your trials have made necessary."

The text continues again: "There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is simply to try to get rid of the trial, and then to be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever before experienced, and to accept it with delight as an opportunity of receiving a greater measure of God's divine grace.

"In this way, even the Adversary becomes a help to us, and all the things that seem to be against us turn out to assist us along our way. Surely this is what is meant by the words "in all these thing we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Rom. 8:37). A.B. Simpson Page 342.

Let me say it can be very hard to learn lessons when our children are suffering. I don’t even want to think about learning a lesson in those circumstances. I just want results. Fast! But looking back over the past nine years I have learned much. Okay, what you may say have you learned through this long, long, trial that still persists? Here’s my short list:
1) Patience
2) Prayer
3) Persistence


My long list begins something like this:
1) The need to let God work in a situation that I feel I need to control. That’s a tough one.
2) Wrestling God for a blessing and what that really means.
3) The need to REALLY take care of yourself even when things are awful because a long term illness of any kind will exhaust you as a caregiver and parent.
4) Hanging on to hope when you can’t find it.
5) Asking friends to stand in the gap and pray when you can’t pray one more word.
6) Finding peace in the Word, on a walk, in prayer, or in "being still."


Through all our trials as a family Christ has always been there for us even when we didn’t know it or feel his presence. Think about your trials and your “dry times.” What was it that you thirsted for? How did God provide?

Every morning on my way to work I pass a fountain that says: “Thirsty and ye gave me drink.” I roll my window down and listen to the calm of the water. It’s really nice when I get a red light and can enjoy it for a minute longer.

Psalm 46:1- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.


  1. Oh, Jill, I LOVE Streams in the Desert.
    Thank you for sharing from your place of pain.

    May God keep holding you tight.

  2. Thanks Patti,
    After being in Pa. for 4 days we came back to our 17 year old dog, Boo-Boo in the hospital. My daugter Meghan called us yesterday to say he was sick and the vet says, "he's very sick." Find out more tomorrow. Lung problem. We visited him today and he's in a big oxygen box. Poor guy.