Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting
Psalm 126 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us;
We are glad.
4 Restore our captivity, O Lord,
As the streams in the South.
5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
6 He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
My first impression when I read the last two verses of today’s Psalm: Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him was to remember what Jesus promised in Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” While those words are often quoted and printed on cards expressing sympathy in the time of loss, it really is much more than simply an encouraging verse. In truth, it is a promise from the God of creation that He will both bless and comfort us in times of mourning. Something that is important then for us to recognize is that if God will bless and comfort us when we mourn, then it is okay, it is acceptable in His sight, for us to mourn. Sometimes, as believers, we get swept up in the truth that our loved ones are in a better place, that they are no longer enduring the difficulties of this world. We are encouraged to celebrate and rejoice that they are with the Lord. We don’t allow ourselves to mourn because it might seem as though we have no faith. God is the one who created us and He created us with emotions and feelings for a reason. He wants us to know love and compassion. He knows we will feel both joy and sadness, and so, He promises that when we mourn He will bless and comfort us.
Look again at what the
psalmist says: Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. There is a key to our comfort and blessing when we mourn, in the psalmist’s words. It is in sowing and carrying seed. Jesus, when speaking of His own death, said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24) Much of the fruit of any person’s life will be born and produced after they are gone. While we are alive we should be careful to live in a way that produces good seed. We should live in a way that builds up seeds of love and compassion, seeds of joy and laughter, seeds of faith, honesty and truth, so that when we are gone that will be the fruit our lives will bear. For those of us who are left behind, for those who mourn the loss of a loved one, we must choose. We must choose what we will sow from the lives of those who are gone. Will we choose to sow seeds of regret, anger, bitterness and doubt, or will we draw from the good seed of the life of our loved one and sow seeds to the fruit of love, compassion, joy, truth and faith? The seeds we carry and sow will continue to bear fruit for generations.
It is not wrong that we mourn the loss of those we love. That mourning and loss can last throughout our own lives as memories come to mind. The end of this time on earth will come for each life, sometimes much too early for us to fully understand. In Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 it says: There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. We all go through many seasons in our lives, but the God of creation, the one who made us to feel the things we feel promises that He will bless and comfort us when we mourn. For us the key is that we continue on carrying and sowing good seed, that both our lives and the lives of those who have gone before us will produce good fruit.
In the same passage that Jesus spoke of God’s comfort and blessing in the season of mourning, He also offers promises for other seasons and circumstances we experience. In Matthew 5:1-12 He says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. There are blessings and comfort, promises of all that is ours in the kingdom of heaven for every season and circumstance we face, if we will carry and sow the good seeds of the kingdom.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit according to Your word, as I sow in tears may I reap with joyful shouting. As I go to and fro weeping, carrying my bag of seed, may I indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing my sheaves with me. In all that I do, in every season, may I be a blessing, knowing that I am blessed by you. May I plant. May I give birth to good and heal. May I build up. May I laugh and may I dance. Amen.