Mon., Aug. 21, 2017
Isaiah 40:8 – The grass dries up. The flowers fall to the ground. But what our God says will stand forever.
Yesterday, I visited one of the happiest places currently on earth. I went to the Pope Farm Conservancy, just outside of Madison, WI, to see 9 acres of blooming sunflowers.
Actually, it wasn’t quite 9 acres. The sunflowers have been blooming for two weeks. Sunday was the last day the plot was open to the public. Truthfully, some of the sunflowers are starting to droop and have lost their brilliant yellow color. Nonetheless, almost 9 acres of sunflowers is still a stunning sight to be held.
As visitors turned into the bumpy gravel driveway, neon-yellow vest clad volunteers directed vehicles to the appropriate grassy parking spots. Just a few short steps away, raised garden beds were growing a variety of Wisconsin products; from hops to goosefoot. After walking up a small incline, the rows upon rows of gorgeous sunflowers could be seen. Yes, many of their heads were a little droopy. But plenty of show-stopping color was to be found.
People from every age group were there. Newborn babies and parents posed as professional photographers tried to get the perfect shot. Grandma’s being pushed in wheelchairs enjoyed a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Families carried picnic baskets and blankets, with plans for an evening meal surrounded by nature and all those sunflowers. It truly was a beautiful sight to be held.
It’s been a difficult week for the United States. Race riots have turned deadly. Memorials and statues honoring Confederate soldiers are being removed quicker than water turns into ice. This has happened in Madison, WI, about an hour from Ripon, WI, the birthplace of the Republican party. These memorials and statues have been part of local history … until now.
Yet on this Sunday afternoon, it was the sunflowers who prevailed. Their cheerfulness was sought by people from a variety of nationalities. Young and old gazed at the 500,000 plants which seemingly lured people from all walks of life to pause if at least momentarily from the craziness of life and enjoy a little bit of heaven on earth. No one rushed. Everyone was polite. We were all captured by the pure joy of these sunflowers taking their last bow at the tail-end of peak season.
As spectacular as these sunflowers were, their beauty is still short-term. Even yesterday, some flowers were beyond their prime. The gorgeous flowers will soon be all about producing seeds. Their importance as a plant is no less. Just their purpose shifts.
There is one constant that remains steadfast and true; no matter the season: our God. When life seems rather chaotic and out of sorts, there is One who does not change. I pray we lean on this never-changing presence to guide us through seemingly challenging times.
Lord God – your creation is so amazing. Only You could design a field of sunflowers to take our breath away. Yet, we know that even their beauty is short-term. I pray Your constant presence encourages us to lean on You every day, especially when the world may not always make sense. Amen.
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