Sunflowers are my favorite.
A few years ago, I came across a quote that I instantly fell in love with–so much so, in fact, that I painted it on a canvas that now hangs in my bathroom as a daily reminder:
“The flower that follows the sun does so even on cloudy days.” –Robert Leighton.
Isn’t that beautiful? (Okay, if you don’t think so yet, keep tracking with me…I’ll get you there!)
As Christians, we are those flowers. When the sun (the Son?) is shining brightly, we have absolutely no problem finding Him and turning our faces to follow HIm. Yet, inevitably, there are times when the clouds of life roll in, barricading the sun/Son behind their sickly-colored plumbs.
Have you ever grown sunflowers from seeds?
I went through a phase one summer in elementary school where I was a sunflower gardener. Out behind our cattle shed, my dad helped me hoe up a strip along the length of the building. I pressed the tiny seeds into the sun-warmed earth, enveloping them in the clay-like soil. Day after day I watered and waited–hoping with the expectation that only a child can exude.
Finally, their tiny green heads began to poke through the ground–and then they took off like Shaquille O’Neal hitting his growth spurt. I can’t explain to you my excitement or pride when my precious, freakishly tall plants finally opened their pretty yellow faces to the sun. One bloom was particularly gorgeous–and I was devastated to come home from school one day to find this heavy, seed-filled circle of sunshine face first in the dust. I carried the flower head around with me, accusing my siblings of being jealous and breaking it off, suspicious of the dogs and cats and birds.
Years later I realized that the flower had committed the tragedy all by itself–twisting round and round, day after day to follow the sun, weakening its stem under the weight of its seeds.
But it never stopped following–even when the clouds came.
My grandmother on my dad’s side grows beautiful roses. When I asked my mom why we didn’t have any roses like that (we have the bushy kind that grow tiny roses and overtake any other plant within a five foot radius…) she explained that (the pretty) roses are extremely fragile; Grandma had planted hers in an ideal location where they were protected from the harsh Nebraska winds and too much direct sunlight. (Plus the sandy ground allowed their roots to expand a little more freely than our clay-dirt).
Last night, as I crawled into bed, wildflowers grew in my mind–I have no idea why. So I made a few short notes on my phone and went to bed.
WIldflowers. Not dependent on man but on God. Grow where they are scattered. Let’s be wildflowers.”
(side note: write down thoughts before bed. They can be good sometimes.)
Unlike my grandma’s roses, wildflowers are far from fragile. They don’t need to be protected or watered or planted in a specific place. They don’t need humans to make sure they stay beautiful–they rely fully on God.
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry…” (Matthew 6:28-31a)
Wildflowers are beautiful. They are strong. They grow anywhere. They are unique. And they rely on God. Friends, I say this in the least Hippie way possible…
But, let’s be wildflowers.