From the devotion book Streams In The Desert compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
“For our profit.” Hebrews 12:10
In one of Ralph Conner’s books he tells a story of Gwen. Gwen was a wild, willful lass, and one who had always been accustomed to having her own way. Then one day she met with a terrible accident which crippled her for life. She became very rebellious and in the murmuring state she was visited by the sky pilot, as the missionary among the mountaineers was termed.
He told her the parable of the canyon. “At first there were no canyons, but only the broad, open prairie. One day the Master of the prairie, walking over his great lawns, where were only grasses, asked the prairie, ‘Where are your flowers?’ and the prairie said, ‘Master, I have no seeds.’
“Then he spoke to the birds, and they carried seeds of every kind of flower and strewed them far and wide, and soon the prairie bloomed with crocuses and roses and buffalo beans and the yellow crowfoot and the wild sunflowers and the red lilies all summer long. Then the Master came and was well pleased; but he missed the flowers he loved best of all, and he said to the prairie: ‘Where are the clematis and the columbine, the sweet violets and wildflowers, and all the ferns and flowering shrubs?’
“And again he spoke to the birds, and again they carried all the seeds and scattered them far and wide. But, again, when the Master came he could not find the flowers he loved best of all, and he said:
“‘Where are those my sweetest flowers?’ and the prairie cried sorrowfully:
“‘O Master, I cannot keep the flowers, for the winds sweep fiercely, and the sun beats upon my breast, and they wither up and fly away.’
“Then the Master spoke to the lightening, and with one swift blow, the lightening cleft the prairie to the heart. And the prairie rocked and groaned in agony, and for many a day moaned bitterly over the black, jagged, gaping wound.
“But the river poured its waters through the cleft, and carried down deep black mold, and once more the birds carried seeds and strewed them in the canyon. And after a long time the rough rocks were decked out with soft mosses and trailing vine, and all the nooks were hung with clematis and columbine, and great elms lifted their huge tops high up into the sunlight, and down about their feet clustered the low cedars and balsams, and everywhere the violets and windflower and maidenhair grew and bloomed, till the canyon became the Master’s favorite place for rest and peace and joy.”
Then the sky pilot read to her: “The fruit–I’ll read ‘flowers’–of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness–and some of these grow only in the canyon.”
“Which are the canyon flowers?” asked Gwen softly, and the pilot answered: “Gentleness, meekness, longsuffering; but though the others, love, joy, peace bloom in the open, yet never with so rich a bloom and so sweet a perfume as in the canyon.”
For along time Gwen lay quite still, and then said wistfully, while her lips trembled: “There are no flowers in my canyon but only ragged rocks.”
“Some day they will bloom, Gwen, dear; the Master will find them, and we, too, shall see them.”
Beloved, when you come to your canyon, remember!
Lord God, in the midst of canyons deep where it seems the sun’s light is weakest, remind us that it is still there and it is enough to nurture beautiful things in our lives. For you, O Lord, reach down to us with your never ending love and fill us with your life giving Spirit. To you we give our thanks and praise! For Jesus’ sake, Amen.