Summer's Heartache and Summer's Message

Sunflowers are the badge of summer...summer's calling card. They are my very favorite flower, now.

I used to love white tulips, until life spun out of control, and all my best efforts seemed as if they were for nothing...nothing at all. Then I fell in love with the sunflower, which symbolizes the idea, "I am proud of you..."

Sometimes we have to look hard to find reasons to be proud. When a child, or anyone you love, really, has failed again and again, when they reject your best love and brightest hopes, your counsel, your principles...maybe even your have to look deeply past the surface of things, into the depths of the bottomless love of the Father, to find a reason to honestly (without duplicity or cheap sentimentality) say, "I delight in you, child."

Today is one of those days. Today is one of those days when I am so aware of the grief of a wayward son...grief that leaks from my soul, like a slow bleed-out, threatening to render me only borderline conscious...aware, but helpless and unproductive.

And so what can I do, but find the biggest bunch of sunflowers I can afford, and offer my heart-artery to God for a transfusion.

I wrestle the conundrum of serving a happy God, with serving a compassionate God, who is touched with the feeling of my heart's infirmity. If He feels my pain, if compassion does indeed mean "to feel pain with", how is He also happy?

Mere mortality, I can only feel one emotion at a time. The term "mixed emotions" is deceiving, because one emotion will always win. Always.

And so He means for it to be. "Roll your burden onto The Lord, and He will sustain you. He will never let the righteous be shaken."

He is the only Being in all the universe who can simultaneously feel my pain, and be completely happy...because only He knows the end from the beginning. And beloved...He sings while He works.

I suffer over some of my works-in-progress, flawed artist that I am. Why? Because I fear the work of my hands is irredeemable. I fear I will have to throw my creation away, and start over.

God did that once...because His justice and holiness of His character had to be vividly and authentically illustrated, early in the history of man. He erased the world and started over, with that righteous man named Noah. But He swore in His great love never to do it again (Genesis 9:11).

From the first rainbow till the end of time as we know it, the cross is His mercy and grace, vividly and authentically illustrated. As the Original Artist, He is committed to complete what He began, to restore and even make beautiful all that has been lost.

And so He alone can bear this load of pain I feel...because He alone sees what I cannot see - what it looks like from His perspective: A Finished Work. All the beauty that is in His mind's eye, He has endless capacity and patience to execute it and bring it to pass...with joy.

See, He delights in His children.

Sunflowers. I feel my strength slowly returning.

Grace and Peace,
Sheila Atchley
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