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
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