Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sowing in Tears; Reaping in Joy

“He who goes out weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him”—Psalm 126:5

I’ve done time in two seminaries, one conservative and one liberal, but not one of my professors ever told me that serving the Church meant suffering. Jesus, on the other hand, told Paul plainly that he must suffer for the sake of his name (Acts 9:16), and so it is for us.

Certainly there are happy occasions when we are surprised by joy, when people hear the Savior’s voice and follow him, but these serendipities go hand in hand with intense and sometimes brutal opposition. Apathetic, hard-hearted congregants, implacable, mean–spirited critics, small-minded obstructionists are always with us. All ground is cursed and works hard, even holy ground.  Thus we “go out weeping” and we “sow in tears.”

Perhaps there’s a reason: Just as all other work fails to fulfill us, so, “God will not allow Love’s work to impart full solace, lest it steal the heart” (John Keble). We may try to find peace and satisfaction in the work that God alone can give. Failures, disappointment and loss accompany all that we do so that our hearts may be drawn ever steadily to Jesus.

And so we “go out weaping and we sow in tears”—it is necessary. But we should know that our labor is not in vain. Nothing we do for Jesus will ever be lost or wasted. There will be a bountiful harvest in the end: We shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing our sheaves with us!

David Roper

“Let us keep to the work of this present sowing time, and find strength in the promise that is here so positively given us. Here is one of the Lord's shalls and wills; it is freely given both to workers, waiters, and weepers, and they may rest assured that it will not fail: “in due season they shall reap....” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon).

1 comment:

lazarus said...

Archimandrite Sophrony of Essex said the following:

When we decide to follow Christ, every day of our life becomes a day of suffering, of weeping, of pain. Sometimes this question arises in us: 'Lord, why hast Thou created us thus, that we must go through so much suffering?' We do not manage to understand that this negative experience is the way of salvation.

No one on this earth can avoid affliction; and although the afflictions which the Lord sends are not great, men imagine them beyond their strength and are crushed by them. This is because they will not humble their souls and commit themselves to the will of God. But the Lord Himself guides with His grace those who are given over to God's will, and they bear all things with fortitude for the sake of God Whom they have so loved and with Whom they are glorified for ever. It is impossible to escape tribulation in this world but the man who is giver over to the will of God bears tribulation easily, seeing it but putting his trust in the Lord, and so his tribulations pass.

One cannot love without suffering. The greatest pain is that of loving to the utmost. Christ loved so much that He gave Himself up to a terrible death. The saints too. Paradise always costs this price. Prayer for the world is the fruit of extremely deep and acute suffering.

 The God-Man “If ever we get hungry to see God, we must look at his picture.”  “Where is that, sir?”  “ Ah, Davie … don’t you know ...