Skip to main content

They Who Sow with Tears Will Reap with Joy

I am currently doing a Beth Moore Bible study called "Stepping Up" (available here), which is a study of the Psalms of Ascent (Psalm 120-134). She always has so much spiritual meat to chew on, but her study on Psalm 126 struck me in a new way. If you have a Bible handy, read through it real quick.

One of the exercises she had us do was to draw a time line. This was great to see the outline of the Psalm....and it also shows the pattern of Hebrew poetry. This is what my time line looks like:I learn best through pictures and visualizations so I thought this was helpful. At one point in time Israel had been prosperous and it was a land full of laughter and joy. But when the psalmist wrote this psalm they were in a time of tears and weeping and wondering what God was doing. But God promised them that once again their fortunes would be restored and that there would be joy and laughter.

Of course, my first application of the psalm was to our life in Tera. When the six men chose to follow Christ there was great joy. Then they turned back and now we are in a period of weeping. And even the entire time we were in Tera we went through a lot of difficult periods of tears and wondering what was going on. But someday (God has promised it!) there will be rejoicing and we (or whoever God has appointed to do it) will harvest an abundant crop.

But Beth Moore also points out another application to this psalm that I had never really thought of. I had always applied this psalm to missions and to soul winning. And I still believe that application is right, but now I think it is just one application.

But it also has a more personal application. She talked about how she made a visit to Africa and an African leader of a food-distribution project told her how people get so hungry that they eat their seed grain. Then when the rainy season starts they have nothing to plant. That made sense to me since the same thing happens in Niger! The hungriest time of year in Niger is the time between just before the planting of the grain and the harvest. In desperation, while waiting for the first big rain, families often eat their seed grain.

She made the application that we, too, often eat the grain, the seed, the Word of God without letting it come to harvest in our lives. The Spirit speaks to us about an issue....a bad habit, a sin, an addiction, a broken relationship, something He wants us to do...and we take in the Word and are blessed by it and challenged by it, but that's as far as it goes. Instead we need to take the seed and plant it with tears and water it with tears and let it grow and let God give us a harvest. No matter how desperate or hungry we are, we must not just eat the seed! In Niger the seed is generally planted in June and harvested in October, but when we are speaking of what God is doing in our lives, the harvest may be a few days or it may be years. We are to be like the seed in Mark 4:20 "Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop...." And Mark 4:26-29 is a short parable of a farmer who sowed his seed and then it sprouts and grows up and then comes to be harvested. But all he does is sows and weeds....he can't make it grow.

And that, my friends, is what we do. We plant the seed of God in the area of our life that needs to be dealt with. We water it, we weed around it, but we leave the growing of it to our Lord. And He will make it grow so that we can harvest it and come again rejoicing!





Comments

Cindy said…
Thank you Nancy...
A timely reminder.

Praying for you guys...

Cindy
Georgene said…
Nancy.. have you read Elisabeth Elliot's book called "No Graven Image"? I'm almost finished with it but your experience in Niger with the trials of missionary life and the wonderings of what God is doing reminded me of this missionary story. I just wondered if you had read it.

Popular posts from this blog

Practice Hospitality

My mother-in-law, Jean, is an amazing person with many gifts.  One of the first things I noticed about her when I was but a young bride, was her gift of hospitality.  It was nothing for her to invite a large group of people over, make each one feel welcome, cook a big meal,and seemingly do it without stressing herself out.  I don't know if hospitality just came naturally to her or if she learned it.  In this picture you can see Jean throwing a party for a class she taught in Nigeria.  




I believe that for me it has been a learned skill.  My parents were hospitable and it wasn't unusual for us to have guests over (though usually not as many at a time as my mother-in-law would do!).  But when I started living on my own, I had to learn hospitality.  The first time I invited somebody over for a meal, the lid got stuck on the pot of vegetables, I put too much salt or soda or something in the muffins, and I forgot to serve milk and sugar with the hot drinks.  I've gotten much bett…

Meat Roll-ups

Tonight I made meat roll-ups.  And I got to use some ingredients that made food prep much easier than normal!  I did make two batches of rolls so that John could have a lactose-free meal.

The first thing to do is to brown some hamburger.  With the main batch I stirred a tin of mushroom soup into the browned meat.  For John's batch, I stirred in flour, some almond milk, and seasonings just enough to moisten it, but not to make it really runny.  In Niger, I would make it the second way since we don't have tinned soup.

Next I made a batch of biscuit dough using Bisquick.  Of course, in Niger, I have to make the biscuit dough from scratch.  I mixed it up with the almond milk.  Once the dough is rolled out in a strip, spread the meat mixture on it.  Roll it up like you would cinnamon rolls and cut into slices.  Lay the slices on a cookie sheet and cook in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes.



While they're baking, I browned fresh mushrooms in butter (in Niger I would use tinned mushroo…

Happenings in November

Well, here we are, more than half way through December, and I'm just now getting around to telling you about November.  It was a fun, busy, and eventful month.  We were still on vacation and we got in a lot of good family time during the month.

We were still in Ohio with Suz and Theo at the beginning of the month.  Suz and Theo were working hard to get Hezekiah to gain weight.  He kept losing weight for the first few weeks of his life, but he's doing great now.  We tried to spend as much time as possible with Tera so Suzanne could concentrate on adjusting to the new baby ... but mostly just because we wanted to and we enjoy her so much.  





We also tried to get in as many baby snuggles as we could.



Whenever we are in the area, my dad's cousin, Jeanne, invites us for a meal. She is actually closer to me in age than to my dad, so I've always just considered her a cousin and don't try to figure out if she's a second cousin or a first cousin once removed.  Whatever the …