Faces to the Sun
One of our houseguests planted sunflowers in our yard a few years ago with seeds she’d brought from northern Uganda. They grow nearly ten feet tall, their faces to the sun, radiant.
To my dismay, the time we get to enjoy their blossoms is brief compared to the time we wait for them to bloom. To replant them takes days of pulling the seeds from the dead heads and drying them in the sun before pushing them back into the soft dirt during the next rainy season. Then more weeks of waiting before we see tiny green shoots. We watch as the shoots become thick stalks. Then—my favorite part—the weeks of wonder as small buds open into glorious and beautiful flowers.
But all too soon, the regal flowers bend their heads and begin to die. I grieve to watch the flowers lose their splendor, but my girls aren’t fazed. The death and drying of the sunflowers bring another exciting season: harvest.
I look at my now-bare garden and feel loss, but these children of mine see great opportunity and wiggle with eager anticipation. Before they set piles aside to dry for the replanting, they grab handfuls to roast as snacks.
We often look at our lives and see the barren places. It seems the garden is empty, plans dead and withered, dreams laid waste. It is easy to believe the lie that the good is over and gone and God is done working here, in me and in you.
But maybe the greatest joy isn’t in beholding the flowers but in the process. I think over the past years and all the dark and hard places. Dreams die and seasons end and terrible, unspeakable things happen that don’t make sense, but God is not done with us yet. He uses the bending and the breaking and the dying to prepare the harvest, to prepare more for us. We reach high to the Son and He comes down and pulls us closer. We lift our heads to Him, looking expectantly even to the bowing and the breaking, even the death of all we have planned, because we know in Him there will always be more. He sees the seeds that come with all the endings and is faithful to use them, to turn them into beauty.
When have you seen a death of a dream bring you new life?