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!
“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).