On a recent trip to New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument, I came across hundreds of these flowers where almost nothing can grow. It grows against inhospitable conditions of intense heat, sparse rainfall, and continually shifting sand. This flower, the Sand Verbena, was not only blooming, but was giving forth a powerfully pleasant fragrance.
Why does this flower choose to sink its roots and live and bloom in such a hostile environment? Let’s picture this flower as a person. Now, can you imagine the post cards it would receive from its cousins in the tropics and rain forests of the earth? “Why do you continue to scratch out a harsh existence for yourself there in the desert? Hawaii, Venezuela, Tahiti, and the South Pacific are the places to be. There’s plenty of rainfall, plenty of warmth, and plenty of rich, moist soil. Here you’ll be in the company of many flowers. There in the desert you’ll be all alone. Why do you remain in that inhospitable place?”
I can imagine the Sand Verbena sending back a message like this: “I am here in the desert by God’s design as well as by my own choice. There in your paradise I would be one of thousands, competing against larger and more beautiful flowers. But here I bloom where I am needed most. I add beauty, color, and fragrance where no other plants can give it. Here I make a difference. God has simply made some plants for adversity. So, enjoy your paradise! I choose to bloom where it really counts.”
Perhaps you can identify with this little flower. Perhaps you consistently find yourself in a storm of adversity. Maybe you arrive at place after place just in time to weather a crisis, see it through, then move on just when conditions improve.
You might be tempted to feel sorry for yourself and grumble, “I never get the breaks. I never get the easy assignments. I always inherit someone else’s mess and fix it. Then, I’m moving on to another problem.” And it just might be that you are one of those few rugged saints who are born for adversity. Maybe God has made you an instrument of His peace. God brings you where hatred and hurt abound, that you might sow love and healing. If He calls you His light (Matthew 5:13-16), why then should you be surprised that God brings you to dark places – where His light is needed most? Let your light shine in those dark places to which God’s called you. If He’s brought you to a desert place, then bloom where God’s planted you – where your witness for Jesus will count the most.
Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for not placing me in comfortable situations, where I merely compete with others and share what is already in abundance. Thank You, O Lord, for placing me where I can make the greatest contribution for good. Bless my ministry and make me a blessing to others. Amen.