– Robert Leighton
Pursuing the Son
We had some sunflowers a few years ago, and they were so interesting to watch as the day progressed. The flowers followed the sun throughout its circuit during the day. In the same way Jesus told the disciples, He tells us, “Come, follow Me” (Mark 1:17). Much later, Jesus told them what this meant: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). Whoever doesn’t follow Christ does not follow what He did, and they cannot be called His disciples. Just as the sunflowers denied following their own way but followed the sun, we too must deny our own way and follow the Son, the Son of God.
Following in Cloudy Days
The interesting thing about our sunflowers was that during the cloudy days, they followed the sun. How they knew where the sun was in the sky I haven’t a clue, but they must have. They were not “fair-weather” flowers, and neither should we follow the Son of God only when it’s going well and the weather is storm-free. This is the history of the apostles and many of Christ’s disciples over the centuries. Just a quick reading of Hebrews 11 shows that “all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (Heb. 11:39-40).
Following Through Suffering
If suffering was enough to prevent someone from following Christ, then many would have failed, possibly even us because we “were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). Even though some were stoned, afflicted, mistreated, flogged, mocked, put in chains, imprisoned, and even put to death (Heb. 11:36-37), they never gave up pursuing Christ in order to follow Him.
Once someone puts their trust in Christ, neither “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” can separate them from the love of God (Rom. 8:35), and even though “we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered” (Rom. 8:36), nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39) because “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).
Longing for the Day
I understand that there is a crown for those who love, or eagerly await, Jesus’ coming. Paul wrote in the very last letter before he was beheaded that “there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). Do you love His appearing? Are you praying, “Even so, Lord, come quickly?” Then you have a crown awaiting you!
Just as the flower that follows the sun even in cloudy days, so does the Christ-follower follow the Son of God through trials, sufferings, storms, and longings for the Great King of kings and Lord of lords and eagerly wait for His appearing, no matter what the weather is.