When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
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.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
(Psalm 126 ESV)
A song of Zion…the seventh song of ascent.
…from the time of restoration of Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity
Have you ever longed for something for so very long, or through so much stress or turmoil in your life? I surely have and when that longing finally became a reality, I was not sure it was real. Did you have to touch something to be certain you still weren’t dreaming or longing about that time when things would change, be different?
The joy of the people in this Psalm could not be contained. There was exuberance, splendid joy, delight, and pure happiness. Do you know these feelings? Could you contain yourself? Would you even want to? If you were singing this psalm, could you apply it to your circumstances? Here, they are praying for those who remained in captivity. They were encouraging them through the words of this joy-filled psalm. We might want to sing it for a particular deliverance needed for the church or our own land or to the incredible work of our salvation by Christ, or healing, or reconciliation.
Yet, we cry at the same time, it seems. Tears of joy, tears of sorrow.
“There are tears which are themselves the seed that we must sow, tears of sorrow for sin, our own and others, tears of sympathy with the afflicted church, and the tears of tenderness in prayer and under the word. These are precious seed, such as the husbandman sows when corn is dear and he has but little for his family, and therefore weeps to part with it, yet buries it under ground, in expectation of receiving it again with advantage. Thus does a good man sow in tears. They shall have a harvest of joy. The troubles of the saints will not last always, but, when they have done their work, shall have a happy period. The captives in Babylon were long sowing in tears, but at length they were brought forth with joy, and then they reaped the benefit of their patient suffering, and brought their sheaves with them to their own land, in their experiences of the goodness of God to them. Job, and Joseph, and David, and many others, had harvests of joy after a sorrowful seedness. Those that sow in the tears of godly sorrow shall reap in the joy of a sealed pardon and a settled peace. Those that sow to the spirit, in this vale of tears, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting, and that will be a joyful harvest indeed. Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be for ever comforted.” Matthew Henry
I am not afraid. My tears have watered the seeds of crops, hopefully rich crops. My tears have watered the hearts of those I love, the sorrows of others, the ailments of many. We are reaping the harvest in wholly healed and healing bodies, tender and peaceful hearts, joy where mourning once stood. May my tears continue to wet the earth of seeds yet to grow and to be harvested. I want to bring my sheaves with me and rejoice in the joy of the LORD.