Three years ago, we planted sunflowers around the perimeter of our vegetable garden. Aaron was SO happy that Gary and I had finally agreed to grow these giant flowers. Aaron had wanted sunflowers for a long time. They did not disappoint as they grew and grew and grew that first summer.
Last year, Gary and Aaron planted some of the seeds that Gary had harvested from our first sunflower crop. Again, the mammoth flowers grew steadily and gave us much beauty to enjoy.
This year we decided not to plant a vegetable garden. Time constraints during the planting season, very late winter weather, some traveling, and severe drought caused us to make this decision.
One day, though, we noticed some plants emerging from the soil. Sure enough, we soon realized that our sunflowers had returned. We hadn’t planted a single seed this year. These were volunteer sunflowers that had sprouted from old seed left in the ground from the year before.
Just a few days ago, there in our garden, was a welcome splash of color. Sure enough, one of those volunteer sunflowers was blooming. And it wasn’t long before Aaron also saw it.
“MOM!!!” he loudly exclaimed. “Look at the sunflower!! Let’s go see it!”
We walked over to the garden and looked at the pretty bloom, all bright and perky and sunny. And of course, I took a picture. Isn’t it pretty?
But if you take a closer look, you’ll see more than one pretty sunflower. And most definitely, if you take in the whole scene, you will have a new appreciation for how much we appreciate this flower.
Look at the sunflower stalk. You notice that it’s missing something. It’s missing leaves…lots of leaves. The deer that call this area home have helped themselves to our sunflower leaves. We didn’t really expect any of our sunflowers to bloom this year because of the damage done.
And look at the background behind and around our struggling sunflowers. The ground is parched and weedy and really quite ugly.
So here is the reality of our garden this year. It looks forsaken and ignored and certainly not a place of beauty. It’s drab and dreary and dull.
Except for…this. This beautiful, unexpected flower.
What’s your reality today? Oh, I’m not referring to your yard or garden. What’s the reality in your life today?
Here’s a picture of mine.
Many of you will know exactly what we are dealing with today. After a welcome break of two and a half weeks seizure free, the low front that came in last night also ushered in seizures for Aaron. I wasn’t really surprised, yet seizures are always concerning and sad. And the loud thump very early this morning as Aaron fell out of bed during a seizure was most unwelcome, especially for poor Aaron. Thankfully, he was uninjured, all wrapped up in his multiple covers like a cocoon.
Wet carpet, wet bedding, wet clothes…really, the least of my worries. Another seizure a short while ago, and watching closely while Aaron is up and about, are my main concerns. I can also change my schedule today, but I cannot change this reality that is a continual part of our lives.
That’s why reading the short devotional for today in the old Streams in The Desert was powerful and moving to me. Listen to what George Matheson says about waiting for hope:
“Thou hast made waiting beautiful; Thou hast made patience divine. Thou hast taught us that the Father’s will may be received just because it IS His will. Thou hast revealed to us that a soul may see nothing but sorrow in the cup and yet may refuse to let it go, convinced that the eye of the Father sees further than its own.”
The eye of God sees further than my eye sees. I see my surroundings in life, often ugly and stressful, but beyond what I see is what GOD sees…what God allows.
I have hope. You, if you know and follow Christ, have hope. Aaron may not be healed on earth. But I have the hope of heaven, where he will be healed and where all will be perfect.
And I have here-and-now hope in God, which brings me peace…joy…strength. We who follow Christ all have this wonderful hope, despite our heartaches and our deep valleys.
Look at what else Aaron and I found in our little sunflower patch.
Future blooms, waiting to pop open and brighten up our dull garden even more.
Know that God is a God of hope. Know that He will work out your problems for some good, unseen as it is now in your life. Know that He has reasons beyond what you may ever know on this earth for the dark days you are facing. Know that He will never leave you or forsake you.
“Strive to be one of those – so few – who walk the earth with ever-present consciousness – all mornings, middays, star-times – that the unknown which men call Heaven is “close behind the visible scene of things.” (Streams in The Desert)
“For I hope in You, O Lord. You will answer, O Lord my God.” (Ps. 38:15)