For our good. (Hebrews 12: 10)
In one of Ralph Conner’s books he tells the story of Gwen. Gwen was an undisciplined and strong-willed girl, always accustomed to having her own way. One day she had a terrible accident that crippled her for life, leading her to become even more rebellious. Once while in a complaining mood, she was visited by a local “sky pilot,” or mountaineer missionary. He told her the following parable about the canyon:
“At first there were no canyons but only the vast, open prairie. One day the Master of the prairie, walking across His great grasslands, asked the prairie, ‘Where are your flowers?’ The prairie responded, ‘Master, I have no flower seeds.’
“The Master then spoke to the birds, and they brought seeds of every kind of flower, scattering them far and wide. Soon the prairie bloomed with crocuses, roses, yellow buttercups, wild sunflowers, and red lilies all summer long. When the Master saw the flowers, He was pleased. But He failed to see His favorites and asked the prairie, ‘Where are the clematis, columbine, violets, wildflowers, ferns, and the flowering shrubs?’
“So once again He spoke to the birds, and again they brought all the seeds and spread them far and wide. But when the Master arrived, He still could not find the flowers he loved the most, and asked, ‘Where are my sweetest flowers?’ The prairie cried sorrowfully, ‘O Master, I cannot keep the flowers. The winds sweep fiercely across me, and the sun beats down upon my breast, and they simply wither up and blow away.’
“Then the Master spoke to the lightning, and with one swift bolt, the lightning split the prairie through its heart. The prairie reeled and groaned in agony and for many days bitterly complained about its dark, jagged, and gaping wound. But the river poured its water through the chasm, bringing rich, dark soil with it.
“Once again the birds brought seeds and scattered them in the canyon. After a long time the rough rocks were adorned with soft mosses and trailing vines, and all the secluded cliffs were draped with clematis and columbine. Giant elms raised their huge limbs high into the sunlight, while at their feet small cedars and balsam firs clustered together. Everywhere violets, anemones, and maidenhair ferns grew and bloomed, until the canyon became the Master’s favorite place for rest, peace, and joy.”
Then the “sky pilot” said to her, “ ‘The fruit [or “flowers”] of the Spirit [are] love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, . . . gentleness’ [Gal. 5: 22– 23], and some of these grow only in the canyon.” Gwen softly asked, “Which are the canyon flowers?” The missionary answered, “Patience, kindness, and gentleness. Yet even though love, joy, and peace may bloom in the open spaces, the blossom is never as beautiful, or the perfume as fragrant, as when they are found blooming in the canyon.”
Gwen sat very still for quite some time, and then longingly said with trembling lips, “There are no flowers in my canyon— only jagged rocks.” The missionary lovingly responded, “Someday they will bloom, dear Gwen. The Master will find them, and we will see them, too.”
Beloved, when you come to your canyon, remember!
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 116-117). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.