"When God puts a burden upon you He puts His own arm underneath."
There is a little plant, small and stunted, growing under the shade of a broad-spreading oak; and this little plant values the shade which covers it, and greatly does it esteem the quiet rest which its noble friend affords. But a blessing is designed for this little plant. Once upon a time there comes along the woodman, and with his sharp axe he fells the oak. The plant weeps and cries, "My shelter is departed; every rough wind will blow upon me, and every storm will seek to uproot me!" "No, no," saith the angel of that flower; "now will the sun get at thee; now will the shower fall on thee in more copious abundance than before; now thy stunted form shall spring up into loveliness, and thy flower, which could never have expanded itself to perfection shall now laugh in the sunshine, and men shall say, 'How greatly hath that plant increased! How glorious hath become its beauty, through the removal of that which was its shade and its delight!'"
See you not, then, that God may take away your comforts and your privileges, to make you the better Christians? Why, the Lord always trains His soldiers, not by letting them lie on feather-beds, but by turning them out, and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long march with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. This is the way in which He makes them soldiers--not by dressing them up in fine uniforms, to swagger at the barrack gates, and to be fine gentlemen in the eyes of the loungers in the park.
God knows that soldiers are only to be made in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times. We may grow the stuff of which soldiers are made; but warriors are really educated by the smell of powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades, not in soft and peaceful times. Well, Christian, may not this account for it all? Is not thy Lord bringing out thy graces and making them grow? Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the heat of battle, and should you not use every appliance to come off conqueror? -- Spurgeon.
Thank you for praying for mine and Ethan's trip to Boston yesterday. It took 3 hours - after hitting morning rush hour traffic - but we made it safe and sound. The appointment went well and no transfusions were needed so we were able to head back home around 12:30... which was nice... no traffic heading back home at that time of day! He and I will go back on Thursday and we expect he will at least need some red blood cells transfused... but he's gone almost 2 weeks without needed an extra dose of them, so that's a blessing. He is being weaned off his steroids and anti-fungal medication over the next several weeks. Please be in prayer that any GVHD (graft-versus-host-disease) would not increase in his body as a result of the decrease in medications. And as always, pray against any fever or infection. Thank you so much.... I've not felt much like myself these last few days.... too much to explain without sounding like I'm feeling sorry for myself.... but I want you to know that I'm thankful you're here with me.