He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalms 126:6 ESV
Suffering. Grief. Despair. We despise them. We run from them. Yet inevitably, they settle in at the seemingly most inconvenient and often unsuspecting times. Our loved one succumbs to cancer; our friend suddenly dies in a freak accident; we find ourselves burying the child who should have lived long enough to bury us; or instead of growing old together with the one who vowed “till death do we part,” we find ourselves alone, hurt, and wounded. During these times of grief, we often ask ourselves such questions as: “Why him?” “Why now?” “Will my heart ever mend?” “Will the mourning ever cease?” or “Will I forever be enveloped by this suffocating fog of darkness?”
Grief is excruciatingly real; it is profoundly painful. And no one on earth could ever fully comprehend the chasm it creates in the soul forced to confront it. True despair is as unique as the people walking through it; no two people walk through the valley of the shadow of death along the same path.
For those of us on the outskirts of suffering, we tend to encourage those within its grip by speaking the words of Psalm 30:5: “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” And this is true; our weeping won’t last forever. It may last a long time; it may last most of our lives, but it will not last forever. After all, eternity awaits, and eternity with Jesus ushers in with it hope, joy, and healing.
Nevertheless, there is indeed more than just the promise of an an eternity without tears. As my friend, a friend who has walked that dark and lonely road more than once, shared with me the other day, there can also be joy within the mourning. No, I’m not saying we will be able to rejoice at every moment during a trial or a tragedy that comes our way. Nor am I saying we should stifle our grief and hide our tears. Even Jesus wept at the sight of Lazarus’ tomb. When we find ourselves standing by the graveside of the one we loved, we will mourn. We will weep. We should. Grief is a process; it is a path we must walk. Attempting to avoid it will only lead us astray and make the journey through longer and more difficult.
Nevertheless, what I am saying is while we mourn, we can mourn with hope. We can mourn with purpose. Instead of allowing our tears to fall onto fallow ground, we can sow them. We can sow those tears in the fields of our heavenly Father. And when we sow in God’s field, the harvest will come.
As I’ve said before, God does not promise a life free of weeping–there will be death, there will be pain, there will be sickness, there will be sorrow. Yet He does promise a harvest; he does say we will reap–if we do not lose heart and if we are willing to bear the seeds, even the seeds of affliction and despair.
As I’ve journeyed through life, I’ve seen two kinds of weeping: worthless and purposeful. The former weeps in despair at what’s lost, at what will never be; it sees only darkness. The latter weeps at what’s lost while also knowing that new life often requires death. Even an earthly seed must die before it blooms.
Worthless weeping views despair as a deep, endless cavern–an abyss that draws us farther and farther from the light. Purposeful weeping views despair as a tunnel, a tunnel that, although dark and dysmal for a time, will eventually end. Whether that tunnel is long or short, it will definitely end and we will definitely see the light.
When we weep with a purpose, we weep with an attitude of worship. In doing so we are in actuality “bearing the seed for sowing.” The King James version calls this “precious seed.” And it is indeed precious. It’s the seed of despair, the seed of turmoil, the seed of tribulation and trial. None comes easy, yet each seed carries within it something precious. The seeds of affliction bring with them God’s amazing grace, God’s sovereignty, and God’s harvest.
In 2015 I embarked on a journey to healing. This journey was filled with heartache, with pain, and with many tears. Yet all this despair was not in vain. For each tear that fell, fell into the hands of my Father. He gathered every tear I cried before Him; not one fell on fallow ground. I didn’t understand at the time the purpose of the pain or the purpose of the weeping, but I did know God had a plan. As my mentor often encouraged me, it was important I trusted God to be God and know there was a purpose in the pain. Even in despair I had hope–hope that the seeds I planted in the ashes would indeed grow into something beautiful.
Difficult journeys are often emotional ones. They are often painful and incomprehensible by those on the outside. Yet God knows. God sees. And God has a plan. Remember this today. Be encouraged knowing the weeping is not forever. Be encouraged knowing when you weep before God’s throne, you are sowing a heavenly seed. The seeds don’t fall by the wayside; they fall onto holy ground. And God takes those seeds. He gathers them into His garden and allows the hard, earthly shell of human frailty to fall away and die in order that new, eternal blooms may grow. Remember today, my friend, the flowers of God’s garden are forever fragrant and eternally beautiful to behold. So as you go through this journey of yours, don’t hide the despair. Don’t stifle those sobs. But rather sow in the weeping. Keep seeking, keep searching, and keep chasing after the heart of God. For as you do, you are bearing those seeds as in Psalm 126. And in God’s hands, those seeds will produce an abundant harvest–a harvest of joy, a harvest of peace, and a harvest of hope.