Looks like my sunflowers are having a hard day. Or week. Or month.
Look at their heavy heads hanging low!
Every year these Russian Giants break out from small seed buried a half-inch below crumbled earth mixed with composted horse manure. A great growing ground—fresh earth and the once icky!
Within three months, stalks rocket to ten feet, roots digging in stubborn, feet refusing to budge without a shovel unsettling. Daily, their young faces turn upward till twelve inches wide, spectacular Van Gogh suns swirling yellow on blue.
And then, their heads fall. Just like that.
Heavy, face-down, no longer seeing the sun. All in a day. Browned and crisped petals ring seeds to be eaten by birds.
Ever felt like a sunflower—a Russian Giant?
Start small. Become firmly rooted. Grow fast and tall. And then, at your peak, you flop? You feel eaten by birds? Is this all you’re good for? You wonder . . .
And maybe you wonder what went wrong?
Where did YOU go wrong?
So you pray and you seek God with all your heart to reveal some hidden sin because, after all, there MUST be some hidden sin if you feel—like—this.
You confess everything that comes to mind and you receive God’s forgiveness for anything Holy Spirit reveals.
And yet, it’s still there. This feeling of heaviness. This weight. This facedown sad you can’t seem to shake. You’re thankful for the warmth you feel on the back of your neck, the sustenance you feel in your belly.
But where’s his FACE? You can’t feel his FACE on your FACE! And you WANT that which you once felt.
Mother Theresa wrote about such lack of feeling lasting fifty of her later years. Yet, she kept walking by faith, serving her Lord. Faith and feelings don’t necessarily wed.
It’s possible to feel a heaviness—even a sadness for the state of our divided hearts, our divided families, our divided communities and churches, our divided world, and still love our Lord deeply, even still have profound joy.
Because no matter the depth of pain, there’s always a higher hope.
Everyone has their “cross” to bear. But with Jesus we can conquer any cross. Because he has conquered THE cross. He was lifted up—to lift—us—up. To take our heavy heads and hearts in his nail-pierced hands and lift—us—up when we can’t even lift a finger on our own.
This. Is. Grace.
Yes, life can be horribly painful. People can be horribly hurtful.
Can we just face this fact without trying to figure out why and assigning blame?
Can we count our blessings while acknowledging the hurt we and others feel?
To be people of Christ—to be compassionate—we must do both. Anything less is living a lie.
We are broken people living in a broken world.
Yet, we are immensely showered by graces too many to count.
Maybe you’re experiencing a dark night of soul right now.
Don’t give up hope! Don’t believe you’re not loved!
It’s OK to feel, even if others don’t think so.
There are those who don’t feel real anymore because they’re buried alive under their own layers of emotion, wells run dry, the walking dead. These are the ones who can’t feel you because they can no longer feel the beating heart of Christ for the hurting. Pray for them. And seek another well with Living Water.
Jesus is never numb, never dry, never empty.
He who bled out his life for you is full of compassion because he has felt everything you feel.
He has overcome.
He will make you, too, an overcomer.
Even when you think you can’t. Even when you think you can’t bear one—more—minute. He bore the cross for YOU. Until his work for YOU and ME was finished.
We can wait.
With his help.
And he will help us find just ONE who will hear our heart. I know this to be true without fail.
Keep asking. Keep seeking. Until you find. Just one. Just one human well with a bit of Living Water to quench your thirst.
God is our everlasting, ever-loving, ever-faithful HOPE who has promised NEVER to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
Even if we are heavy-laden with sin, He will forgive and release the repentant (1 John 1:9). And so will his true followers. We can seek his face always (Psalm 105:4).
He comforts us in all our struggles so we—can comfort—others (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Keep asking. Keep seeking. You will find.
Even in our troubles, we can still have joy because our God has won the battle we fight daily between flesh and spirit, between stubbornness and obedience, between rebellion and surrender (Romans 7:15-25).
He will make us WIN.
We do not surrender ourselves to a tyrant. We surrender ourselves to the One who created us to live a TRUE LIFE—not the counterfeit version we’re deceived into believing is better.
Thanks be to God, he who began a good work in me is faithful to complete me. And you. (Philippians 1:6)
And on that day, that final day, when we see him, when he lifts our face along with our veil, our head will never drop again in heaviness or sorrow or shame. And he will carry us complete in his holy arms across the threshold of the everlasting home he has prepared, just for you. Just for me. And we all will be well-pleased.
Praise you, Jesus!
Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. Isaiah 49:13
My comfort in suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. Psalm 119:50
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Psalm 25:1
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8
The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145:14