GOD is My Salvation
My Summer’s Sunflower Story
It was a hard year to be a sunflower!
Usually–a seed is something bursting with life…and so full of promises…and possibilities that we enthusiastically look forward to its fruition, whether it be in the fragrance of its beautiful flower, or the juicy flavour of its vegetable or fruit at maturity! But–when it’s life is threatened, it’s a sad day! From blight to drought, to pollution, and unkind farming practices, sunflowers of my acquaintance took a lot of hits this past summer. And for another menacing reason, we had our own personal sunflower saga of loss….
Earlier in the year, I’d planted seeds in special seeding trays, of what were to become nine-foot tall sunflowers! Can you just imagine how they would have (should have) looked—9 feet worth of happy sunshine, embodied in those happy faces?! The seedlings took off so well–and my hopes were high–maybe 9 feet high…
…because, years earlier, I’d read of an idea for creating a sunflower house–with sunflower walls and accompanying climbing, entwining vines that would strengthen, decorate and support the sunflower house, while being supported themselves. It sounded like a delightful idea, so I’d tucked the idea away for “someday”! So this was the year! I had the seeds, and the time to make it happen–the “someday” was here! Specifically, I wanted to build the sunflower house for our grandchildren, to bring them delight, and introduce them to the joys and responsibilities of gardening, and enjoying the fruits of their labour. It was my first try—house-building with sunflowers, that is.
To form each of the walls, the kids and I carefully dug up sod from the lawn, creating shallow trench-like beds to plant our sunflower seedling babies, and tucked them into the soil ever so gently. It was a joy watching the youngest so carefully pat the soft soil around the growing plants, tucking them into bed just as if they were little babies. The oldest carried away the sod with a twist of disgust on her face at the dirty job–while her sister happily watered the growing area. Such fun!
Next, morning glories and climbing beans were planted, cozied right up next to the sunflower babies, to climb and intertwine. And we left the grass in the center of the beds, so the children would have a grassy floor inside their house…and mini lights were purchased to string between the sunflower stalks for when they were large enough…and oh, what a magical place I had planned for the children! But it never happened…
And that’s when everything went “califunkle”—all wrong, all messed up, out of order, and mixed up! (I know, that’s not a word—but it is now! I made it up when writing this piece—and I liked the very sound of it, which seemed to express its definition so well…so I added it to my pc dictionary. Lol! You’re welcome to do the same thing if you’d like! Maybe we can start a trend. After all, someone else got to make up words—so can’t we do the same thing when we can’t find a word to effectively express what we’re trying to say?! I think so! But, I digress…)
You’re now wondering why everything went califunkle? Because: the rabbit arrived! Yes, I know that I have to share with the critters sometimes, and when he ate one of the little sunflowers, I looked the other way…but when the rabbit ate another three stalks, I wasn’t impressed. Yet, as the stems continued to grow and toughen, naively I thought the rabbit was finished with his snacking, and being busy, I let that go, too.
Can you imagine my horror when I found he’d chewed off almost half of the plants—and didn’t even bother to eat most of them?! He just chewed them off, several inches from the ground, and let the stalks fall! Did he yell, “Timber!”? I don’t know for sure because he was so sneaky that he made his attacks when I wasn’t around! At the very least, he could have offset his damage by actually eating the plants instead of just wasting them–letting their lives and deaths be of no value. So, you can be sure–up went a fence to protect the straggling sunflowers! Still, somehow, he managed to wriggle his teeth close enough to the sunflowers to continue his alfresco dining. Well! Next came strips of garden spikes from the store, set just outside the fencing…and that seemed to stop him. Whew!
As the remaining plants grew, however, there was another enemy threatening, and I didn’t even know it! Doesn’t that sound like the way satan, too, operates—so destructive, but so sly about it, and almost invisible? Doing his vile work undercover? I came outside one day to find sunflower stalks cleanly severed, as if by a knife, and laying on the ground! Again! But it wasn’t the rabbit. It looked like it may have been the work of a cut worm of sorts. Regardless of who did it, I mourned the destruction of the kids’ amazing sunflower house that never happened…all of that hoping and effort had been for nothing!
There would be no wonderful sunflower walls, entwined by blooms of morning glories or climbing bean vines ready to be picked! No string of lights hanging from sturdy stalks overhead…no story times and cookies sitting on the grassy carpet inside…it was just…all…over. I thought…
But I was wrong! And I really love being wrong at times like this!
When even more weeks passed by, I noticed a new little sunflower head showing off! You can be sure I was delighted when I found it had actually grown out from one of the little stalks the rabbit chewed off, when he’d left only inches of it above the ground—and even without leaves to power it, the little plant had engineered a new stalk for itself that pushed on up, out of the side…and it was determined to do it’s job to produce a sunny flower face! And it did! And then? There was another one…and another! Stalks that had been shaved clean off, and that sat for the longest time doing nothing, so it seemed, suddenly sent out new stems—crowned with flowers!
What an amazing illustration of grace that is! To see the initial losses–all of them!–and then to see the plants’ struggles to regain themselves, to reinvent–and redirect themselves, again–was marvelous! And not only is that beautiful in nature, I know it can be that way for us too! Truly!
In so, so many ways, we can be bruised, damaged, struck down and nearly destroyed! The pain and the loss are real–and dreadful! And we can wonder if it’s worth the effort to try again! Oh, but it is–with God! If we’ll co-operate with the power and love of the very same Creator, the One Who taught those sunflowers to compensate and redirect their efforts for success, He can strengthen us with amazing new life too…and purpose…and hope…and beauty and joy!!
“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength
and my song; he has become my salvation.” – Isaiah 12:2
Jesus declared:“In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33.
“In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33
How is this possible? God’s instructions are readily available to us! All we have to do is read His life-giving word, and pray for His guidance and wisdom, determined to be obedient to His truths found in the Bible–to discover the beauty of His love, and His grace, and His plan for our souls–and our lives!
Here are some life-filled passages I encourage you to please consider for further study–telling of God’s amazing love for us and His powerfully immense grace; of His indescribable gift through Jesus and His offer to save those who will believe, come to Him, and obey His conditions, being baptized to receive the adoption and new life that He wants to extend to each one of us!
Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:1-21; Romans 6:1-8; Galatians 3:26-29; 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Thinking of you on this challenging and, sometimes, painful, journey of life…and earnestly hoping that you’ll allow the loving Lord to work in you, causing you to bloom and grow with so much beauty, and all to His glory!
With hugs and love,