There used to be a time whenever someone invited me to dinner or a get together, I would always bring sunflowers along with a side-dish. I brought sunflowers because they are one of my favorite flowers. How can anyone look at them and not feel happy?
With the state of the world right now, we need more of what makes us happy. We need more sunshine and sunflowers in the spiritual sense for sure. Did you know that observation is a skill? So many people seem to be lacking of that skill. The skill to observe with a questioning spirit, questioning our feelings, versus the facts. Questioning what we are told, versus common sense seems to be a fading skill.
Did you know that sunflowers are a symbol of faith, loyalty and adoration? Isn’t it interesting that while sunflowers are growing, they always follow the movement of the sun across the sky, from the rise of the sun in the east until it’s setting in the west? They need about six to eight hours a day of sunlight to reach their potential. Perhaps we should follow their que.
In Matthew 24:27 (NIV) Jesus tells his disciples “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the son of man.” Just as the sun rises in the east, so will the Son. Maybe we should shut off our media feeds and turn our face towards the Son. Maybe we should be thinking of all of the goodness he brings us and all of the blessings we have vs all of the hatred we see around us.
Philippians 4: 8 (NIV): Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
Not long ago I watched in horror, one of our elected leaders say on national tv “We do not need God.” I wondered to myself what was happening to our country and to people, right in front of my eyes. I believe we are seeing spiritual warfare playing out right in front of us on a daily basis. I may not be a biblical scholar but I know enough of it to see truth and to feel the energy of ugliness, hatred and destruction that is around us.
Getting back to sunflowers, did you also know that once they stop growing they will usually stay facing the eastern direction just to soak up the sun? However, there are usually a few rebels in the patch that will choose a different direction.
Take note: In Matthew 24: his disciples asked Jesus what the signs would be of his return. Jesus went on to say that we need to be careful that no one deceives us. (how many times are we lied to?) He said that we will hear of wars and rumors of wars (had a friend the other day tell me that she thinks there will be a civil war here). BUT, he also said to “see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places (had one here just last week which is very out of the normal). All of these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death. (Christians are being persecuted and treated terribly around the world. Christian statues are coming down, God is taken out of school, churches are being told they can not hold services while looting and lawlessness in large groups are being allowed). He goes on to say: At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false profits will appear and deceive many people.”
I’m an observant person and can see all of this. From the false profits to people turning away from each other according to their political beliefs. From the lawlessness that is prophesied in the book of Revelation to the action of people turning their faces away from the east and away from God. Rebels in the streets and liars on our screens.
However, along with that I also believe more than ever, that there is a large field of us that cover the country. We are like those bright sunflowers facing towards the Son, allowing his warmth to envelope us and not allow us to be consumed by the hatred, the strife and the worry that comes with this tumultuous world. We are strong and our beliefs mean something. They are the beliefs that our country was founded on and they are the beliefs that have made this country the beautiful, free place it has been for centuries. I know the end of the story, the end of the book. Knowing the end of the story allows us to not be alarmed and to have peace amidst this storm. After all, every storm runs out rain, and at the end those of us who know his voice will turn to the east and see he is near.