As a result, we decided to let the squirrels win this one. "If they want the sunflowers, let them have them," we thought, "We'll make them squirrel-proof next year." So, we stopped caring for the sunflowers -- no water, no weeding, no watchful eyes. The squirrels finished their looting of the sunflower garden and we moved on, considering how next year's planting would be different. End of story . . . or so you would think.
Instead, let these photos tell you what really happened:
The incident of the squirrels and the sunflowers has caused us to reflect on our ability to trust in God's providential care in our lives. Consider their lessons:
- God is the master gardener. We are not God. Forgetting this causes much unnecessary stress. As much as we fussed over the flowers during the consistently hot days this summer, we did not cause the flowers to grow; we merely facilitated their growth by being good stewards.
- God's results exceed human expectations. We cannot begin to fathom the mercy of God, who will not be outdone in generosity. Although we judged the squirrel attacks as a threat to the survival of the sunflowers, they were actually an opportunity for the flowers to thrive.
- God never ceases caring for us. We are human beings who have limitations that cause us to "throw in the towel," at least once in a while. God is not. While we were ready to give up on the flowers and use our mistakes as a learning experience for next year's growing season, God was not finished -- and the results were beautiful!
Today, most sunflowers in our region are giving way to the flowers of autumn. While we look forward to the beauty of autumnal hues, we cannot forget the lessons that the sunflowers -- and, yes, even the squirrels -- of 2015 taught us. As long as we remain open to these lessons, the results will be beautiful!