As usual, it was a scorching hot July day when my husband and I embarked on our yearly pilgrimage to a sunflower field nearby. I say “our” loosely because the trip is all for my benefit. Each year I attempt to procure a more unique picture of a sunflower than I did the previous year. And this year I did have a new lens I wanted to try. Reason enough, right!
I always hold my breath and say a little prayer as we turn onto the gravel road leading to the field, craning my neck for the first glimpse of the beautiful yellow flowers. The last two years have been lackluster to say the least. Weather conditions ranging from too much rain to drought had left the fields sparsely populated with mostly diseased flowers and weeds.
Well, praise the Lord that would not be the case this year. I think I squealed as a sea of yellow became visible in the distance! As the truck came to a stop, I quickly put on my boots, grabbed my camera bag and began the photo shoot. Sweet Eddy always sits patiently in the truck and amuses himself with his iPhone as I shoot what has never been less than two hundred photos when the field is as beautiful as this year’s was. I literally have to talk myself into returning to the truck, wondering if I am possibly missing the perfect sunflower, in the perfect light because I know that another 365 days will pass before this opportunity avails itself again.
There is some method to my madness as I photograph these beauties. Many flowers are bypassed because of a less than perfect shape, a dead flower in the background, invasion of weeds, or simply being past their prime. Fortunately, I had the luxury of having a plethora of perfectly formed sunflowers at my disposal this year.
As I inspected one flower and then another for the winning shot, God spoke to me as He often does through nature. He so clearly said, “Aren’t you so glad that I didn’t pass you by because I was only interested in the most perfect of specimens as members of my family?” Stopped me in my tracks!
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4) Praise God for His wonderful gift of grace that covers all our imperfections and makes us presentable to Him through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
Rest in the assurance of knowing that God never will discriminate against us because of past , present or future sins. He will not pass you by as I did the imperfect sunflowers, seeking only the best of the best. In Him and through Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, He looks at us through eyes of love and sees us clothed in the righteousness of Christ. If we were a sunflower, we would be the one chosen for the award-winning photograph.
The most difficult thing to do is to accept this truth about ourselves… we are unconditionally loved and absolutely forgiven, flawless in the eyes of God. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Instead, we waste our time and energy attempting to derive our love and worthiness through works of the flesh, exhausting ourselves in the process instead of accepting the peace and joy that are family benefits as a child of God.
God’s promises in the Bible are there to help you more clearly understand and have this truth re-enforced so that it becomes a part of what you believe about yourself. Please make it a priority to spend time in His word, allow him to speak this principle to your heart, listen for His words of love and encouragement. “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
Stand tall today, know that in God’s eyes you are the most beautiful sunflower in the field and He loves you! I love this Max Lucado quote, “If God has a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning… Face it, friend. He is crazy about you!” To God Be the Glory!
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