Our dear friend, Ruth Karner, gave us this wonderful daily devotional book, Streams in the Desert back in November. We keep it on our dining room table and have been encouraged by it many times. Today's entry did just that and I thought I would share.
I have received full payment and even more (Phil 4:18)
In one of my garden books there is a chapter with a very intereswting title: "Flowers that grow in the shade." It deals with those areas of ta 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 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 facinating 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 welth of his spirituall inheritance.
Haven't we all known men and women who begin to wear strength and hopefulness llike 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 adesert, but "the desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom" (Isa.35:1)
John Henry Jowett
When there is much light, there is also much shade.