Lessons From My Garden-The Other Side of Darkness


I’ve experienced it. You have too. 

Maybe you’re there right now, a time in life when everything safe, secure and comfortable has been uprooted. 

Turned upside down. 

Night may have descended in the middle of a bright sunny day with a phone call, a diagnosis, a betrayal, a loss, a failure. 

In an instant, you are overshadowed by gloom and despair and not one glimmer of light flickers to guide you to a solution. 

You feel trapped in a dark place with no way out. Abandoned. Alone. Afraid.

What are we to do in the darkness, through the long night of struggle and heartache?

I’ve noticed several amazing plants in my garden that illustrate the answer to this question in different ways:


The Cassia tree, abundant in clusters of symmetrical leaves, is covered with bright yellow flowers in Autumn. A small shrub-like tree, it grows twelve to fifteen feet tall. 

Sulpher butterflies, the large yellow-winged variety, are attracted to the Cassia and will rest on its branches even when it isn’t flowering.

An amazing characteristic of the Cassia is how it folds its leaves together at dusk, as if putting little hands together for bedtime prayers.

The Cassia “prays” all night and when the sun rises in the morning the leaves open to another day of butterfly welcoming.

A life without prayer is a life without light. What better time to pray than when we can’t see where we’re going?

The lyric to an old hymn put it this way:

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer.


The Four O’clock plant has small trumpet-like flowers that remain closed during the day. 

When evening comes they open, displaying a mass of color across the top of their waxy stems and releasing a mild, sweet fragrance into the night. 

As we sit on the patio in the evening the delightful scent is carried to us on the breeze. This flower puts on its greatest display in the darkness. 

The Four O’clock is not concerned about the setting sun. It was made to rejoice in the night.

Paul and Silas, in the darkness of a dreary prison cell (Acts 16), praised God in the middle of the night, the fragrance of their worship carried on the wind of the Holy Spirit to God’s throne.

Their praise brought the answer to their problem and set them free.


The Poinsettia plant is famous for its beautiful red Christmas blooms. 

The blooms are actually the plant’s green leaves which slowly transform into a brilliant red color as the daylight hours shorten and nights grow longer.

Poinsettias need the long dark nights of autumn and early winter, to convert leaves from green to red. The process takes about six to eight weeks but the plant can only produce the bright red color we all enjoy, in darkness.

The night seasons of life are mostly unwelcome, but they create something beneficial in us and for others, if we let them. 

James 1:3-4, shows us that these troubles test our faith and produce patience. Once patience has done its work, we will be complete and have everything we need for a God-filled life.

Some of the greatest transformative experiences occur in the night seasons of life. 

My plants never fuss in the darkness but yield to its process. When the sun rises in the morning, they are glorious to behold.

Keep praying and praising and be patient.

You’ll be surprised by the beauty found on the other side of darkness, when the light shines again.

Job 23: 8 Behold, I go forward, but he [God] is not there,and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him. But heknows the way that I take; when he hastried me, I will come out as gold.

Psalm 18: 6 But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears.

Psalm 120:1 In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He heard me.

Isaiah 50:10 Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God.