I was once browsing facebook when this beautiful photo of Colorado Sunflower Sunset taken by a friend of mine caught my attention. It is just too wondrous not to take notice. Then, I remembered this verse that says …
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)
A sunflower seed looks insignificant. It definitely does not resemble at all what it is created by God to look like when it fully blooms. But God Who is the Creator of the universe put inside the sunflower pod the seed of beauty. He saw beyond the obvious. He saw what it is meant to be. He knew that when we see it, surely we will acknowledge and praise Him for His creation.
This is one of His love languages for you and me, that gazing at such wonder, we will be in awe as no one else can do this beside Him.
A sunflower seed or any kind of seed does not fully grow overnight. It takes for it to be sown and planted on the ground that is dark, that could be arid or humid, soft or hard, rocky or weedy. It is subject to vulnerability as there may be insects that could possibly destroy or devour it. More so, the ground moves. It pushes, presses, squeezes the seed until the pod breaks when the right amount of pressure is applied. At the same time, the life inside the pod is growing and breaking through it to start its new life, no longer bound to the limitations within the pod, that I could almost hear it shout … “FREEDOM!”
The process of the seed sprouting and growing, we know not, for it is only God Who makes things grow. He does all the behind the scenes and all we could do is tend it, water it and witness it as it grows. Then, after the process that involves time, at a designated moment, we see the sunflower fully grown with its flower blooming perfectly and full of glory.
Sometimes our lives bear a resemblance to this sunflower seed. We may go through difficulties and challenges that we find ourselves in darkness, confused, feeling helpless and hopeless, BUT we need to remind ourselves that when we are IN CHRIST, He is always with us just as He promised. He dwells in us in the presence of the Holy Spirit and He Who is in us is greater than he that is in this world (1 John 4:4). We may not feel His presence at times, but when we shift into our FAITH MODE, when we believe what He has spoken to us over what we see with our eyes, this is when we become intertwined with Him and His ability to keep us strong in Him and in the power of His might.
“Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”
We are to be fully persuaded that what Jesus Christ paid for and won at the cross, He made them all available for us. His victory is our victory. He overcame so we can overcome. He endured everything, the suffering, death, burial and resurrection FOR THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM, seeing you and I coming into the knowledge of His saving grace, us being ONE with Him, us coming boldly into the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace in time of need, well received and welcomed, never rejected or neglected, all set to experience with Him our all-inclusive salvation of healing, wholeness, prosperity, preservation, protection, wisdom and everything else that we need. He said He prepared a feast for us to enjoy, but it takes faith for us to get up and partake of what has been made available for us.
Everything around us is in constant change more than our minds can comprehend. A sudden change that could bring one in darkness may be an unemployment, or a betrayal of relationship, or sickness, or whatever it is, BUT know that we are to be certain, undaunted, unmoved, assured, unshaken that in Christ we have HOPE. He is the HOPE OF GLORY. Only in Him we can have a confident expectation and a joyful anticipation that the wind of goodness is coming our way. Why? Because He fully paid them all at the cross and He said so.
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” (John 16:33 AMPC)
Our God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He loves us with His everlasting love, therefore He will forever show forth His faithfulness not only to us but to a thousand generations after us. He is always with us. He is GOOD and His GOODNESS is for eternity.
I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
For You will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow Your holy one to rot in the grave.
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of Your presence
and the pleasures of living with You forever. (Psalm 16:8 NLT)
The growing process of the sunflower is never free from calamities. If it survives and withstands whatever it needs to overcome, with the limited help from its gardener, it will reach its full fruition and purpose. When it does, it surely puts a smile on our faces and warms our hearts. Its purpose is for others to enjoy.
Don’t you think our lives go the same way? When we get through an obstacle in life, when our mourning is turned into dancing, when our sorrows are turned in to joy, when our ashes are turned into beauty, we are being equipped to overflow our overcoming lives to others. We get to be positioned as hope-influencers and our testimonies of Jesus become a spirit of prophecy.
Attached to every challenge that we face is an opportunity to grow and fully bloom. We never stop learning, growing and blooming. All we need is to constantly and consistently ABIDE in the Vine, Jesus Christ, Who is our life source.
Abiding in the Vine means we cannot tell where the Vine ends and the branch begins because their fibers intertwine and interconnect. It is a seamless connection. It is living in the conscious presence of the Spirit of God in a place where there is no effort to pick up His heart, no effort to think His thoughts that reproduces Jesus in and through us.
Abiding in the Vine means we will be fully filled with Jesus’ thoughts, desires and will, written in His Word and are treasured, rooted and grounded in our hearts. His Word becomes the final authority in our lives that supercedes every thought and opinion that go against it.
Abiding in the Vine means that His heart and mind are interlocked with ours that He will give us the checkbook of blank checks knowing that we will never ask anything that is contrary to what gives Him delight. Thus, His Word says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7)
Abiding in the Vine means that He reproduces in us Himself. “Christ in us, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) We reproduce His thoughts, His ways, His integrity, His purity, His obedience and His love. Our lives become invitations of what it means to have Jesus, the One True God living inside us.
Abiding in the Vine means that we get to be like Him just as He originally ordained us to be, created according to His image and likeness. As He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17). Christians are called to be Christ-like beings, from faith to faith, from glory to glory.
Abiding in the Vine means we get to bear much fruit. The life-giving sap flows freely from the Vine into the branches where fruit is produced. Branches are called to be fruit hangers. No branch eats its own fruit. The fruit is meant to be consumed by the ones around us. When they taste and see that the fruit is good, then they get to see and partake of the goodness of God in our lives and know that JESUS IS ALIVE in and through us.
Truly, He makes all things beautiful in its time as we continue to abide in Him and walk in constant awareness of Him. It is only He Who can make a sunflower bloom perfectly in its time. Only He can make us bloom where He planted us that we get BLESSSED to be a BLESSING because we have the pleasure of living with the BLESSER dwelling inside of us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us THE SEED from heaven, Your only begotten and beloved Son, Jesus Christ, so that in Him, with Him and through Him, You will reap a harvest of a multitude of sons and daughters as we receive Him Whom You have sent. Thank You, Jesus, that You came that we may HAVE and ENJOY life and have it more abundantly because You overcame and won all our challenges for us. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for guiding us into all truth. We know that nothing that was accomplished at the cross is automatically experienced by us, but it is You Who unveils our eyes to see all that has been made available by the power of the finished work of Jesus Christ and it is You Who awakens and quickens our faith to partake of them all. It is not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of God. Amen!
Photo Credits: Gerry Acebedo