Tall sunflower in a field of sunflowers
Encouragement

Sunflower Wisdom

by Candyce Carden

The sunflower is one of the world’s most familiar flowers. Replicating the pattern and colors of the sun, it resembles its namesake. The flower grows tall and proud and symbolizes vitality, devotion, and adoration. Who can resist a smile of delight when looking at one of these beauties? No wonder it’s recognized by so many.

The sunflower has another characteristic that relates to its name—it follows the sun. A young flower faces east at dawn, waiting patiently for the sunrise. Throughout the day, it slowly tracks the sun’s light as it moves west across the sky. Then during the night, the flower gently rotates east to begin the cycle again.

This movement of the sunflower is due to its uneven growth. The east side of the stem elongates during the day while the west side grows at night, stimulating the constant rotation. Facing the sun gives the flowers extra warmth which better attracts pollinators.

I wish I was as devout and loyal as the sunflower in seeking the spiritual light in my life. Just as the sunflower needs physical light to survive, we need the spiritual light of Jesus to thrive.

Jesus said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life ( John 8:12 NIV).

It’s much easier to follow the light of Jesus when our lives are going well, when all is sunny and bright. But what about those times when darkness descends because of a broken relationship, a gut-wrenching medical diagnosis, the loss of a loved one, or an employer who doesn’t need us anymore?

We’re going to face struggles in life. Struggles when numbness threatens to overtake us. Struggles that leave us in a state of paralysis. Struggles when depression and hopelessness loom on the horizon.

But as we spend time with Jesus, we come to know Him. We gain trust and confidence that He will not forsake us. With Jesus, we never have to walk in darkness despite our clouds of pain. He is our refuge. He is our strength. The key to peace when walking through dark times is to draw closer to Him.

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. (Psalm 105:4 NIV)

Even on gray cloudy days, the sunflower continues to follow the sun. In fact, the flower can point us to the sun’s position in the sky when we can’t see it. Let’s be as faithful as this unique plant in seeking Jesus, our spiritual light. Again and again. Day by day.

By keeping our eyes fixed on Him, our dark times won’t overshadow our source of inner light. But the analogy doesn’t end there, for Jesus also tells us:

You are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14 NIV)

Jesus said He came as the light of the world, but He also instructs us to be a light of the world. We can reflect His light by the way we lead our lives—loving others as He loves us. His light will shine through our actions, words, and thoughts. When we faithfully follow Him, we add His light to the world.

Sunflowers are true followers of their source of life, the sun. As believers, let’s become devoted seekers of our source of life—Jesus Christ. When we know Him, we find peace in our struggles and cast His light into a dark and hurting world.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for the joy and trust that come from seeking You day in and day out. Thank You for the promise that we never have to walk in darkness. Guide me to lead my life in a way that adds Your light and love to this dark and hurting world. Amen.

Questions:

  1. Read Psalm 16:11. When we seek to know God as our source of guiding light, what good things do we gain?
  2. Name a dark time in your life that you can look back on and see God walking with you through the clouds of pain.
  3. Write down three actions you can take this week that will reflect the light of Jesus.

*This excerpt comes from Feed Your Soul with the Word of God, Collection 2 (Buford, Georgia: Lighthouse Bible Studies, 2023), 100-102.  

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