Crazy Love and sunflowers

September on the farm is a lot of fun because sunflowers start popping out everywhere, and I swear we have more of the bright happy flowers this year than we’ve had before. Sunflowers are the state flower of Kansas, and I actually think they’re a weed. But I love them anyway.

But they aren’t just called sunflowers because they are shaped like suns. That’s what I thought when I was little. But one year we actually planted “real” sunflowers in our garden, the ones that actually produce the seeds you can eat. And I was fascinated to discover that sunflowers follow the sun across the sky (the term is heliotropism, if you care about botany). That’s what I love best about sunflowers, besides being bright and happy and everywhere; I love that they respond to sunlight by following the sun.

I’m currently reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and one of the chapters I just finished reading has a part in it about how we should respond to God. I know I personally get so busy that sometimes I forget to respond to Him the way I should.

Sunflower facing west at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Sunflower facing west at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Revelation 4:6-11.

In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight. Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—
    the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”

Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever), the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever). And they lay their crowns before the throne and say,

“You are worthy, O Lord our God,
    to receive glory and honor and power.
For you created all things,
    and they exist because you created what you pleased.”

This is one of the passages Crazy Love encourages us to read when we’re thinking about how to respond to God. I think a lot of the time we get hung up on the beings John is trying to describe toward the beginning. After all, how many times do you hear about things like that? This is the part of Scripture that starts creeping people out because there are so many “weird” things going on. And I haven’t done enough of a study of the Revelation to even begin to express my thoughts on it. But when we read a passage like this, I don’t think we should focus on what the beings are. Instead, we need to look at what they’re doing.

They’re worshipping. And they’re not just worshipping, this is hardcore exaltation. See what it says before? “Day after day, night after night.” That’s one heck of a worship service. And they’re not alone because there are 24 elders who are worshipping along with them.

I know I have a vivid imagination, but just think what it would be like in a place where God is worshipped 24/7. I love my church, and one of the things I love best about my church is the worship. And I’m not just talking about our song set every weekend, although those are fantastic. We have three worship leaders who are awesome inside and out, but worship is about more than just singing. Worship is a way of life. It’s how you get up in the morning. It’s how you go to work. It’s how you sit through meetings. It’s how you clean your house and raise your kids. And that’s what’s so awesome about my church is that it’s a community of people dedicated to worshipping God every moment of their lives.

That’s how we’re supposed to respond to God. We’re supposed to live our lives for Him, making choices in His name, loving others in His name. When we come face to face with who He really is, how can we do anything else? Those people who think they’ll be asking Him questions haven’t really wrapped their minds around how incredible He is.

Granted, God is my best friend. I’m closer to Him than anyone else. But just because He’s my best friend doesn’t mean I’ve lost respect for who He is. And when He is fully revealed to all of us, I guarantee we won’t be firing off questions about quasars and feathers, as it says in Chris Rice’s wonderful song “Questions for Heaven.” It will be all we can do to keep breathing.

So in the busyness and chaos of your life this morning, take a moment to just think about who God is. Seriously think about it. And don’t be afraid to be awed. Don’t be afraid to be speechless. In fact, if you aren’t, you’re not seeing Him the way you should. Thank Him for being who He is, for loving us even though He knows us, for caring about every detail of our lives even though He has much bigger things on His plate.

Don’t get so busy or so wrapped up in your troubles that you forget who He is.

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