God's Sunflowers

August 30, 2006
by Russ Chamberlain

Psalm 42:11b – Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. (NRSV)

I picked up the phone, and one of my elderly parishioners asked me if I could find time to come for a visit. I told him I would be by that afternoon if it would be okay with him. He told me that if he did not answer the door, I should come around the back, as he would be in his garden taking care of what God had given him to take care of.

That afternoon, I found him where he said he would be — out back in his garden. We sat for a few minutes in the shade, and he said to me, "Pastor, you know, I like sunflowers because they remind me of God."

"How is that?" I replied.

He thought for a minute and then said, "Because they are trustworthy. They keep their heads turned to the sun, waiting, even if it's cloudy. Every day when I come out here to my garden, there they are with their faces towards the sun. You know, Pastor, some days I struggle to stay loyal, waiting for the unseen God to work in my life. On those days, I come out here and look at these sunflowers. They remind me that if I remain as vigilant as the serene, nodding sunflowers, the haze will clear, and I will again look upon God's clarity. I have learned over the passage of time that God is ever-present, but my fears, self-centredness, and bustling here and there every day can muddle up my life to the situation that God's company is veiled. But when I make the choice to calm down my mind and focus with belief, I stumble on God in my everyday life, shining through the people and world around me."

As I departed from his garden, I found something to remember, and to ponder on cloudy days as my journey of faith continues.

Prayer: Dear God, thanks for sunflowers and wise parishioners who make the connection between them and You. Each time we see a sunflower in a field, may we be reminded of Your presence in this world. When You seem distant to us, may we find ourselves asking the question, "Who moved?" Help us to calm our minds and to see You in each of our daily procedures and in the people you bring into our journeys of faith. Be with us today and every day we journey by faith. Amen.

About the author:

Russ Chamberlain
New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA

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