Tears to Joy

This devotional comes from “Solid Joys,” the Android and iOS app from Desiring God that features daily devotions by John Piper.

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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 126:5–6)

There is nothing sad about sowing seed. It takes no more work than reaping. The days can be beautiful. There can be great hope of harvest.

Yet the psalm speaks of “sowing in tears.” It says that someone “goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing.” So why are they weeping?

I think the reason is not that sowing is sad, or that sowing is hard. I think the reason has nothing to do with sowing. Sowing is simply the work that has to be done even when there are things in life that make us cry.

The crops won’t wait while we finish our grief or solve all our problems. If we are going to eat next winter, we must get out in the field and sow the seed whether we are crying or not.If you do that, the promise of the psalm is that “you will reap with shouts of joy.” You will “come home with shouts of joy, bringing your sheaves with you.” Not because the tears of sowing produce the joy of reaping, but because the sheer sowing produces the reaping, and you need to remember this even when your tears tempt you to give up sowing.

So here’s the lesson: When there are simple, straightforward jobs to be done, and you are full of sadness, and tears are flowing easily, go ahead and do the jobs with tears. Be realistic. Say to your tears: “Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed, car to be fixed, sermon to be written).”

Then say, on the basis of God’s word, “Tears, I know that you will not stay forever. The very fact that I just do my work (tears and all) will in the end bring a harvest of blessing. So go ahead and flow if you must. But I believe (I do not yet see it or feel it fully) — I believe that the simple work of my sowing will bring sheaves of harvest. And your tears will be turned to joy.”

Talking to Your Tears

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Men are expected not to cry, even when there are problems coming in your way. I myself have forgotten – if it can be called a method – how to cry since I was in the fourth grade of primary school. However, the writer of the Psalm did not only talk about physical tears, but mental tears too.

We may do not realize it, but we often cry within our hearts. When troubles come, when we suffer mentally, when we face problems we are tired of dealing with. They are all tears inside us.

But God strengthens us. He will not leave us and the works we are doing in Him will bring the grateful joy to replace the tears.

So, get your head to the field, even though you are tearful, and get sowing. In the end, you will get sheaves of harvest and the tears will stop.

Lord Jesus blesses you!

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