“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. 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 126:2-3, 5-6.
These are some of my favorite verses, and they’re ones that have come to the forefront a lot in recent weeks after God suddenly provided an unexpected job for my husband, uprooting our family from Chicago to Colorado within 35 days. With the challenges of an extremely complex special needs child, chronic illness in myself and my children, a major loss of finances, two job losses, nine surgeries between my husband and I, and my degenerative ankle, it has felt as though we’ve been in a wilderness for nearly 15 years.
There have been days, weeks, and years that I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to muster a smile again. We’ve felt stripped, beaten, worn, exhausted, confused, and wearied by much of life, and have wrestled with the truth that God has been sovereign over it all. I’d be lying if I said that there haven’t been days when I’ve battled bitterness, resentment, anger, doubts, and fears, struggling to understand why a God who loves me would allow so much layered hardship.
But here’s the thing. Overtime, as the pain has driven us to our knees in dependence on Christ, we’ve seen our sin and need of him more clearly, and we’ve been humbled to see that our sin is a greater problem than our circumstances. I’ve often wanted these verses to mean that eventually God will restore our “fortunes” – the finances we’ve lost, the comforts we longed for, and the redemption of painful experiences in a way that makes sense of it all.
But the ‘sowing of tears’ in these verses are not just over what’s been lost, but over the sin and rebelliousness of our hearts. And the ‘shouts of joy’ are not simply from our circumstances improving, but from being satisfied, restored, and redeemed in the Lord.
Friends, sometimes God restores our earthly losses and it causes us to praise and thank God for his kindness toward us in ways far different than we would have before they were lost. But sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes, instead of us reaping with shouts of joy over our earthly restoration, we reap with shouts of joy over the work God has done in and through us in the midst of our tears. And that, even more than restored comforts, will cause others to look at us and proclaim, “The Lord has done great things for them!”
Either way, God is good and faithful, and he is working redemption and restoration in the hearts and lives of all his children. You may have more tears than joy right now, but don’t lose heart. One day, if not in our lifetime, the tears over our sin and losses will cease, and we will have endless shouts of joy for all eternity.
Home is around the corner,