Sunday, December 10, 2017

Who Made the Poppies?

by Sarah Van Diest @SarahVanDiest

In Switzerland—Burtigny, to be precise—there is a hill I climbed several times during my recent stay. Though autumn had secured much of the landscape, there remained a few bright red poppies blooming on the edge of a farmer’s field. Situated just above this field was a small wooded area with an enticing walking path through the heart of it. It didn’t seem to matter to me if the day was sunny and mild, or cloudy and wet, I still wanted to walk up the hill, venture into the woods if time allowed, and always visit the poppies.

One day, when it was simply too wet and too blustery to venture out and up the hill, I wrote the below:

Poppies await the arrival of hikers, or fowl, or whatever may wander up their way. Their brilliant red heads provide an imagined explanation to their name as they pop out of the green grass and brag about their presence—unashamedly. Their purpose is clear: demand attention and transfix all with their beauty. Saturated in crimson, they can do nothing else.

A victim of a poppy’s heavenly hex may, in that transfixed state, ask the question of this flower’s origin. And though I believe I know the answer as to its beginnings, still, my spirit is compelled to follow the spell’s enchantment and ask the question: Who made this thing of uncommon beauty which greets me on my way up the hill?

The answer pours down from the heavens in a wind, tumbles into the forest and down to where I stand. Embedded in that brisk breeze is the Father’s stirring voice. He takes the credit.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
Job 12:7-10

“Of course, it is You!” I say aloud. Resonating with the satisfaction that comes from putting broken pieces back together, my soul breathes in his goodness.

I asked and he answered. This calling back to one another in question and answer, stimulated by the wonders he placed all around, seems to be the in and out breathing he intended for us. We see his marvelous works, our spirits long to know him, so we call to him, and he breathes life into us as he reminds our earth-pinned souls of who he is.

This is a picture of him loving us first. He put those poppies there first. He ordered the sun to rise first. He caused the waves to crash first, the stars to shine, the moon to beam, the clouds to thunder. Then, we saw the works of his hands and called to him. And he answered.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
Psalm 19:1-4

Last month I wrote about our voices in What is Art and how they declare his glory. It is an honor, don’t you think, to join the mighty chorus of voices—the wind, the heavens, the poppies—in declaring the glory of God?

And blessed be His glorious name forever;
And may the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen, and Amen.
Psalm 72:19

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Who made the poppies? Experiencing God through creation - @SarahVanDiest (Click to Tweet)

Educated as a teacher, Sarah taught school for nearly 20 years. As a young woman, she lived in China amid the rice paddies and water buffalo near Changsha, and then later taught English in Costa Rica for four years and raised her two sons. 

Sarah is married for the second time, the mother of 2 boys and the step-mother to 3 more. She and her husband, David, work together in their agency The Van Diest Literary Agency. Her full name is Sarah Ruth Gerke Van Diest. She’s 5’5” and cuts her hair when stress overtakes her. 

She is a freelance editor (including a New York Times and USA Today bestseller), blogger (The Write Conversation) and writer for hire. Her first book releases with NavPress in 2018. 


  1. Another great post by you, Sarah. Best wishes for success with your first book.
    Jay Wright
    Anderson, SC

    1. Thank you, Jay! Blessings and Marry Christmas!

  2. Your post about our voices was a memorable one, Sarah. (I bookmarked it for quick reference.) Thank you for allowing us to join you on the enticing path to see the work of God's hands through your eyes.

    1. Thank you, Cathy! Not quite sure how that happened, but thank you! :)
      Merry Christmas, sweet friend! I hope you have a wonderful celebration time with loved ones.

  3. Merry Christmas, Sarah. Do you have a release day yet? ☺

    1. Merry Christmas, to you, too! The official release of God in the Dark is April 3rd. We will begin asking folks to be a part of the launch team sometime in January. I will post something about it all here on The Write Conversation.
      Blessings to you as you march forward in your writing!