Those of you who know me well know I am NOT a morning person! The first thing I do each morning is fix coffee, sit on my couch with my cat, Bob,  and read my Bible and write in a prayer journal.  I usually sit there until I sense from the Spirit that my morning grumps are over and I can be presentable to the outside world.  

Last year, I had a mentor give me the devotional, Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman.  For those of you who know me even better, you know I have a strong distaste for daily devotionals like this.  They always seem to be light on the scriptures and heavy on the fluffy, sentimental writing...   

I was going through a hard time, though.  I had this new National Director role, I was discouraged at my effectiveness and was questioning my abilities as a leader.  I felt like I was in a spiritual desert.  One morning I decided to dive in and see what this devotional had to offer.  
Mrs. Cowman has a unique perspective on suffering.  She wrote this devotional during a time of deep sadness from the loss of her husband.  I found her writing on the critical role the suffering plays in our own spiritual growth to be both inspiring and humbling.  She didn't let me off the hook, every day she challenged my perspective about how sovereign I believe God to be when I am not getting what I want.  Do I believe He has perfect timing? Perfect control?  Perfect goodness?  Perfect faithfulness?  Mrs. Cowman helped me find those streams in the desert.

Maybe you are going through a time of suffering right now in your spiritual life.  Don't gloss it over.  Take some time with your bible, your journal, your devotional (and maybe your cat) and pray it through with the Lord.  Listen to a teaching on the role suffering has in our lives.  Talk to a mentor about what you are going through.  For those of us in urban youth ministry, we have to be able to go through the desert to get to that Promise Land.

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