Let’s face it – 2020 has been a strange year.
But God was not surprised by all the events that have happened.
Would you join me in a four-week countdown to Thanksgiving?
When we stop for a moment, we realize we have much to be thankful for.
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,(Psalm 126:1-6, English Standard Version)
we were like those who dream.
2 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.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.
4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negeb!
5 Those who sow in tears,
shall reap with shouts of joy!
6 He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bring his sheaves with him.
This year, more than others in recent memory, has been a season of loss and struggle and sadness. Loss of face-to-face connections with friends and family, loss of freedom to gather together in community events, loss of jobs, loss of health, even loss of life have all been part of this season.
And we all experience the sharp pain of these losses, whether first-hand, or through the lives of those we care about.
Like the psalmist, we look forward to the day when the things we miss will be restored. When that day comes, we will likely wonder if this is just a dream, or if it’s really happening!
The psalmist uses an agricultural illustration to help us remember the truths about God’s economy and timing. We may feel like we are giving all we have as we plant our seeds, wondering if there will be anything and any shreds of hope left to live on, even shedding tears over the losses. But in faith, we go forth and plant those seeds, trusting the Lord for the outcomes. And after a long, hard season of planting, watering, weeding, and praying, the Lord brings the harvest, and with it, His joy that fills us and overflows in our hearts to the notice of others around us.
And that leads us to worship God, who redeems all things.
Here is another paraphrase of this Psalm that may resonate with your soul today:
1 When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,(Psalm 126:1-6, New Living Translation)
it was like a dream!
2 We were filled with laughter,
and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
“What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”
3 Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
as streams renew the desert.
5 Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
6 They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.
Lord, thank You for taking our tiny seeds of faith, sometimes it seems like our last seeds of faith, watering them with our tears of sorrow and your mercies, and transforming them into an abundant harvest of joy.
Lord, may I not look to the tiny experiences of happiness as the world defines it, based on whatever situation I find myself. Instead, Lord, help me to remember to lean on You and Your promises of life and joy found only in You.
Lord, may I wait on You through this season, trusting You for the outcomes of my life and the lives of others I love and care for. I give everyone and everything to You, Lord.
Lord, may I be quick to remember to praise You for what You have done and are doing in my life, to live in that life of joy so that others who don’t know You will marvel and say, “what amazing things the Lord has done for them”, and be drawn to Your love, grace, and mercy.
Thank You, Jesus.
Learning to sow in tears and harvest in joy,