Have you ever passed a field of spent sunflowers? Their burnt brown heads are all bowed in the same direction, like a class of naughty kindergarteners abashed by their scolding teacher.
They look as though they considered the dust from whence they came, and maybe we all should do that occasionally? I have passed that same field when the stately golden heads were lifted high and proud and petal-full.
But the spent sunflowers are beautiful in their bare humility, like surrendered souls having shed all pretense to self-sufficiency. I’ve held my own head high, too, on a stiff neck and I’ve withered down to brown humility and though painful, one is infinitely better. Because to be brought low is to know the security and stability of the Source rather than wavering on your own skinny stalk.
This is the one I esteem, declares the Lord. He who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my Word. Isaiah 66:2
Jesus told those heartsick disciples on the road to Emmaus, Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory? (Luke 24:26)
Suffering, it’s everywhere in Scripture, and everywhere around us, and sometimes we’d just rather have our best life now.
God doesn’t seem to view pain the same way we do. C.S. Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters that God seems to take His most precious saints through some of the roughest, driest valleys (I believe he uses the very British word “troughs” instead).
His thoughts are not our thoughts; His ways are not our ways.
So we bow our heads with the sunflowers, give humble thanks, receive the manna-grace for today. We look forward to the day when all our suffering blows away like dust in the wind.
Do you feel withered and barren today, humbled before others or maybe just before your Maker?