Lent Part 3 – Invitation to Bend Toward the Light

Heliotropism - A Spiritual Lesson from Nature

God has been showing me this week that I need more heliotropism in my life. If you’ve never heard of heliotropism, don’t go looking for that word in the Bible – you won’t find it there. It’s actually a scientific term to describe what happens when plants bend toward the sun. (It’s also a fun word to say!)

As you may remember, I planted some zinnia and sunflower seeds last week and after just a few days, they had germinated and were growing like crazy. Each morning, my kids enjoyed seeing how far the seedlings were leaning toward the light streaming in from the sliding glass door. Then my boys would turn the planter around and see how fast the seedlings would straighten up and bend over backwards toward the light again. (This would usually take a few hours.) The boys repeated this ritual several times a day, and we’ve been amazed to watch the bending take place almost right before our eyes. 

As I continue my journey with Jesus during this season of Lent, God has been calling me to something similar – spiritual heliotropism. We are all invited by Jesus to bend toward the Light, to pursue Him, to focus on Him, to receive life-giving energy from Him, to follow Him closely. 

Some days the bending comes quite naturally. Other days, I simply want to bend my own way – I don’t feel like leaning toward the light. And still other days, I seem to get bent completely out of shape by the smallest puff of wind – things just seem too hard and I feel like giving up. 

But Jesus keeps inviting me back to the Him. No matter what kind of day I’m having, God’s light is constantly pursuing me, compelling me to surrender my ridiculous attempts at control so that I can walk in His light. And I find my heart drawn to Him, much like my zinnias and sunflowers are drawn to the sun. 

I heard Jesus’ invitation again last week through my friend, Janet Hansen, when she reminded me of my need to bend toward God’s ways, even if I don’t fully understand or like them.  She said, “Sometimes hidden behind God’s seeming reluctance to give us what we think we need, is a gift we wouldn’t even know to ask for.”  So true.

Today, if you sense His invitation to bend toward the Light, don’t hesitate. Our sin is too heavy a burden to bear. Our grief is too consuming to carry. Our worries and cares are too distracting. Only by surrendering to the Light of God will we have enough strength for the journey.   And only then can he give you the gifts that He knows you need, even before you know you need them.

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one-another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” I John 1:5-7


1 Comment

  1. I am reading John 3 this week and this reminds me of how John 3 talks about when Moses put a snake on the pole and all the people had to do was “look up” at the pole to be healed, but still, some people wouldn’t do it. They chose to die by the snake bite instead of looking up. The symbolism is still true today, we choose to look down and chug through our world today, trudging through sludge instead of just “looking up” and seeking Gods face…just “bending” our necks to seek God. What a great lesson.

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