Tomorrow begins September. My massive perennial garden wanes as we head into fall. Faded pinks and purples are being replaced with golden yellows, vibrant reds, and burnt oranges. Now is the time of pumpkins ripening in our side yard patch, vines still flowering in hopes of creating a few new squash before frost.
Next to our pumpkins are twelve-foot-tall sunflowers in assorted autumn hues. I have waited all summer for this! Their massive buds are opening, creating a rich and varied display. Every day, I come to this spot of earth planted with tiny seed three months ago. I look up and into massive seed faces with petal hair. Every day, they remind me how to relate with God.
Sunflowers do naturally what humans do not. These beauties instinctively know their need of the sun. They know their utter dependence on light and warmth for their life, growth, and ability to bloom. They are heliotropic which means that sunflowers turn toward the light—always. They seek as much light as possible to aid in the process of photosynthesis—the process by which plants convert the sun’s energy into sugar for growth. Budding plants actually turn and follow the sun as it crosses from east to west each day. During the night, the buds return to an east-facing position awaiting the sun’s rising.
Most fascinating, when sunflower plants are placed in dark places, they know how to find the sun. They turn and follow the sun’s position even when the sun is not physically present to them. In so doing, sunflowers keep their circadian rhythm. They move and grow as they were made to move and grow.
We have much in common with sunflowers, though we often do not realize. Our lives are dependent entirely on the Son—the light of His truth, the warmth of His love. Unlike sunflowers who have no free will, we can refuse to follow, to turn. Such refusal forfeits the life-giving, growth-producing power emanating from the only source of life, the Son. When we refuse to turn, when we go our own way, we lose access to our Life Source and eventually wither and die, at least spiritually. Just as sunflowers do not grow, are not sustained without the light and warmth of the sun, we do not grow, are not sustained without the light and warmth of the Son.
I am humbled each day as I watch my sunflowers instinctively tracking the sun. Every day they turn. Every day they track. Do I? Am I so sensitive to the moving of the Son that my face always seeks, always turns toward Him? Do I view Him at every moment, day and night, as my Life Source, the One on whom I am entirely dependent?
Oh, Lord, make me more like a sunflower. Make me a Sonflower. Help me turn toward You always. Help me follow You always. Feed me, grow me, make me bloom!