I have received full payment and even more. (Philippians 4: 18)
In one of my garden books there is a chapter with a very interesting title: “Flowers That Grow in the Shade.” It deals with those areas of a garden that never catch direct sunlight, and it lists the kinds of flowers that not only grow in the dark corners but actually seem to like them and to flourish in them.
There are similarities here to the spiritual world. There are Christians who seem to blossom when their material circumstances become the most harsh and severe. They grow in the darkness and shade. If this were not true, how could we otherwise explain some of the experiences of the apostle Paul?
When he wrote the above verse, he was a prisoner in Rome. The primary mission of his life appeared to have been broken. But it was in this persistent darkness that flowers began to show their faces in bright and fascinating glory. Paul may have seen them before, growing along the open road, but certainly never in the incomparable strength and beauty in which they now appeared. And words of promise opened their treasures to him in ways he had never before experienced.
Among those treasures were such wonderful things as Christ’s grace, love, joy, and peace, and it seemed as though they had needed the circumstance of darkness to draw out their secret and inner glory. The dark and dingy prison had become the home of the revealed truth of God, and Paul began to realize as never before the width and the wealth of his spiritual inheritance.
Haven’t we all known men and women who begin to wear strength and hopefulness like a regal robe as soon as they must endure a season of darkness and solitude? People like that may be put in prison by the world, but their treasure will be locked away with them, for true treasure cannot be locked out of their lives. Their material condition may look like a desert, but “the desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom” (Isa. 35: 1).
~John Henry Jowett
Every flower, even the most beautiful, has its own shadow beneath it as it basks in the sunlight.
Where there is much light, there is also much shade.
Cowman, L. B. E.; Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 323-324). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.