Psalm 126: Planting Tears, Reaping Joy

Wildflowers are the hardest things to grow. For several years, I’ve tried to get a patch growing in our side field, and my results have been unpredictable. Compared to the traditional rows of orderly garden plants, the firecracker display of colorful, carefree wild flowers swaying in the breeze is nearly impossible to cultivate. So is making joy come from tears, unless you are God.

This past year I have cried more tears than I care to acknowledge over difficult issues. Some of the more serious matters have created a tangible physical pain in me, too. For instance, a recent betrayal has left a fresh wound that causes an hourly gnawing in my heart. Then my despair over an illness and lost loved one “bleeds” quite freely on certain days. Underlying all this, my heart aches over a dear relation’s childlessness. Those are only a few personal issues. I often empathize in sadness for the difficulties of others. (I empathize in joy, too.)

Am I depressed? Maybe. But when faced with the many ailments of the human condition, I know that tears can be a very normal expression of emotion to mind-searing situations.

All this sorrow makes the words of Psalm 126 sing with expectation to me.

Psalm 126

“When The Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like those in a dream. It seemed so unreal.

Then were our mouths filled with laughter, and our tongues with singing. Then they said among the nations, The Lord has done great things for them.

The Lord has done great things for us! We are glad!

Turn to freedom our captivity (For us today that “captivity” is sin.)

Restore our fortunes, O Lord, as the streams in the South are restored by the torrents.

They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing.

He who goes forth bearing seed and weeping (at using his precious supply of grain for sowing) shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

The words of this Psalm tell me something. When precious, rightful things are stripped away from us, we should bury our grief in God’s soil in order to reap future joy.

Only God can turn our sadness into joy.

Only God can restore what is broken.

My own efforts are useless.

Just as wildflower seeds are tossed to the ground and left to germinate under the watch care of God, so must I abandon myself to Him and trust Him for the eventual outcome of joy in my life despite my sadness.


My Prayer

Abba Father, broken and bleeding I lay at your feet waiting for healing only you can give. Change the substance of my tears to new places of joy in You. You alone are able. I am not. Help me to trust. Amen.


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