They that sow in tears shall reap in joy
From slavery to freedom, from the wilderness to ‘the land of milk and honey’, from darkness to light, from the cross to the resurrection – the Christian life is an experience of redemption. The LORD is always defined as One who “brings up” His people – from Egypt to Canaan, from exile to return, from death to life.
What does that feel like? Psalm 126:4 describes it like this:
“Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.”
“The south” was a desert area – its name means “dry.” But the LORD’s restoration is like gushing water in the desert. Here’s the promise: however spiritually and emotionally arid we are, there is a Fountain of Living Waters who is more full of refreshment than we are of thirst. He is more full of grace than we are of sin. He is more full of comfort than we are of sorrow. He has an overflowing fullness – like streams in the desert. So come to Christ, continually, for times of refreshing (Acts 3:19).
And in the meantime, the Psalmist gives us a powerful image to ponder:
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6)
Perhaps you are shedding tears at the moment. But if you belong to LORD Jesus who ‘brings us up’, none of those tears are wasted. None of them are forgotten. They are like seeds that will one day bear fruit for joy. When Jesus returns He will wipe them away and turn your sorrows into resurrection glory.
It might not feel like it right now. But think of the Israelites who had come through the Red Sea. They were saved and singing for joy. But the path to joy was sorrow.
Or think of the Jews returning from exile. Again, they were saved and singing. But how did they get there? Through suffering.
Or think of Easter Sunday, the worship, the celebration and awe. But how did we get there? Through the cross. The path to joy is always through tears.
Therefore our tears are not senseless. They are seeds. And in Christ’s grace, they will bear fruit for joy.
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
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