I am an avid gardener, although every year I ask myself why.
My husband and I live in Central Oregon and our weather can be very challenging, over 90° during the day and below 40° at night. Clear skies in the morning and by mid-day a rainstorm, freezing rain, or the random dusting of snow. We have crazy, unpredictable, ever-changing weather.
This year was particularly odd. We started the season with unseasonably hot temperatures. Seedlings planted in late May wilted by early June. Their leaves shriveled and fell off and when the temperatures cooled, I was forced to replant. Once we passed the heat wave, the winds picked up, pushing any surviving plants slideways or risk being snapped in two.
However, the sunflower patch miraculously survived. The edges of the plants’ leaves burned, and their stalks stood a little lop-sided, but they withstood the extremes, towering over the rest of the reseeded garden.
I plant sunflowers each year. There is something about their big bright flowers that make me smile. They send their roots deep into the soil and the beautiful flowers are a great source of food for the wild birds. Growing the plants, helps me feel like an accomplished gardener. Although in reality, they grow in any soil and require no real maintenance.
Have I mentioned they make me smile?
You may already know this curious fact, but the sunflowers’ blooms follow the light. In the morning, they face East soaking in the sun’s rays and by evening they have turned West. They continuously seek what gives them life. It is fascinating to watch!
Perhaps the sunflower’s behavior is one we should all consider mimicking – following the light.
When life is peaceful, prosperous, and easy – follow the light!
When life is a struggle and complicated – follow the light!
When your children make the wrong choices, the dog is sick, and you and your husband/friend/business partner are at odds – follow the light!
When the diagnosis comes back positive – follow the light!
The sunflower has no other option, it was created to follow, innately equipped to follow. Humans, not so much. We have a choice to follow, free will, and we are innately equipped to wander.
So, what does it mean to follow the light?
In John 8:12 we learn,
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
New International Version (NIV)
Following the light requires us to follow the giver of light, Jesus. He provides the soil that will allow our roots to grow deep and our lives to become strong. And when we build a relationship with Him, we begin
to reflect His light in our own lives. We enjoy following Him, learning about Him, thinking more about the needs of others than our wants, and holding on to His truth in the face of disappointment and despair.
Following the light, changes our lives.
Following Jesus transforms us.
And once we are transformed, the light that shines in us can then be used to tell the world about God, His love, and His amazing grace. We do this by the way we live our lives, share our talents and skills, and communicate our stories.
Our light draws others to Jesus.
But we know that as humans, we often choose to ignore God’s instruction. We choose to ignore the light of His truth. We turn our faces away from God and follow our own path. Brokenness surrounds us, pride fills our hearts, and we become self-righteous – hearts filled with sin.
Yet, He waits patiently for us to acknowledge our sinfulness and return. We are restored by His light.
There will come a day when we no longer need to strive or struggle, we will rest in the warm glow of Jesus’ love.
Our faces will search for His and just like the sunflower, we will move in cadence with Jesus. Following Him across the heavens for eternity.
Ladies, we can live confidently. Jesus is our light. As we trust Him, His light grows in our hearts, and we will reflect His light to a broken and hurting world.
Follow the light dear sisters. Follow it when you don’t think you can persist. Follow the light when you are in the grips of heartbreak. Follow the light when your mind is filled with shame and fear.
BeLOVED, follow the light!