what sunflowers can teach us

I’m out for a morning run. Though the sun has been up for at least an hour, it doesn’t feel like it. The clouds are heavy and hang low. There is a slight mist in the air and the everything looks gray. There aren’t even shadows on the ground as there is no sunshine to make them.

bed of sunflower
Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

As I head down my familiar path, I run past a field of sunflowers. As it is late July, the flowers are in full bloom. I know their heads are bright yellow but I can’t see any of them. I am running past the field on the west side and all I can see is the backside of the flowers.

The entire field of sunflowers is facing towards the east. Towards the sun.

We know sunflowers do that, follow the sun’s path. It’s how they got their name after all. But, what intrigues me today about this fact is that there is no sunshine this morning to follow. The clouds are so thick and dark I can’t even pinpoint where the sun is in the sky.

And yet the flowers are turned in the sun’s direction. Even though they can’t see it, they know it is there. Even though the sun is blocked by clouds, they still know where to turn.

sunflower in field

In Psalm 27:7+8, David writes these words, “Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! 

You have said,

 “Seek my face.”

My heart says to you, 

“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

David knew what it was like to have a bad day. King Saul, with an army at his disposal, was openly seeking David to kill him. Though David had been anointed as king, he sure wasn’t living the life of one. Then, when he was king, there were people trying to throw him from his throne, even his own son. David had some hard times, yet, during those times, he wrote beautiful songs to God. A heart cry that we, too, can relate to.

When hard circumstances come, it can be easy to wallow in our grief and self-pity. But God has a better plan for us than that. We can do as David did and seek God’s face. When the road gets rough we can turn to worldly comforts and explanations or we can intentionally turn to God’s word, approach Him in prayer, and seek His face. 

Just like a sunflower that turns towards the sun, even on the cloudiest of days, we can pursue our Father, even when it feels like He isn’t there. The clouds may be blocking the sun, but it’s still shining. Our hard circumstances may be large and overwhelming, but God is still working and in control.

If you are in the middle of one of those cloudy seasons right now, take encouragement from Psalm 27. The last two verses of the Psalm can be a daily reminder as you wait for the clouds to disperse and the sun to shine again: 

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (vs 13+14)

Isn’t that a spark of hope?! We don’t have all the answers and there isn’t any magic phrase that will suddenly make everything alright. But even when the sun is hidden behind clouds, even when we’re beaten down and our soul feels wilted and weary, we can still turn towards the Son. We can seek out His truth, His promise, His hope. It doesn’t make the hard go away, but it helps us to be able to endure.

So, friend, if you’re feeling bent and weary, if your soul is floundering as it tries to find the sun amidst the clouds, please, hold on. Keep those roots grounded in the Truth, turn your soul to the Son, and seek His hope and promise for your hurting heart. And if you see another who is broken in this way, be the one who reminds them that the sun is still shining. And remind them to turn towards the Son.

more resources

1 thought on “what sunflowers can teach us”

  1. I love your example of sunflowers following the sun even when the sun isn’t visible–at least to us. How true that we need to trust even when we do not clearly see the Son.

Leave a Reply