“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” Psalm 126:5-6
Only God knows the number of tears I have cried in my life. My teen years were filled with more tears than smiles. I know I cried a river each time my one of my children were wheeled away into surgery. I’ve cried out in desperation to God over my failures as a mom. And I’ve wept over losses, failed dreams, and unexpected trials.
As one who struggles with depression, tears are my constant companion. I’ve struggled with the weight of them and have begged God to take them away. The book of Psalms has always been a balm to my wounded heart, reflecting my pain and sorrow in its songs of lament. It was in Psalm 126 where God taught me that while the pain that accompanies my sorrow is hard, it is not without purpose.
Psalm 126 refers to a time in Israel’s history when they returned from exile. The pain and sorrow of their captivity finally came to an end. Our own sorrow will not last forever either; there will be an end. Elsewhere in the Psalms, we learn that “weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Spurgeon said of Psalm 126, “Hence, present distress must not be viewed as if it would last forever; it is not the end, by any means, but only a means to the end. Sorrow is our sowing, rejoicing shall be our reaping. If there were no sowing in tears there would be no reaping in joy.”
We must sow our tears. We can’t let them fall just anywhere, they must fall in a place where they can be planted and nourished. Our tears are not for us alone but are to be used for God’s glory. In planting our tears, we are promised that they will produce a harvest of joy.
Our Savior was familiar with sorrow; Scripture refers to him as “a man of sorrows.” He took on skin and walked among us, experiencing the same pain and suffering we experience. He wasn’t just here as a tourist, to merely observe what it was like to be human in a fallen world. He entered into the grief and pain of humanity and felt the agony of human life. But Jesus knew that “joy comes in the morning” and sowed his tears as he hung on the cross. Scripture tells us in Hebrews 12:2 that he did this “for the joy set before him.” And what was that joy?—our salvation and the restoration of our relationship with God.
How can we sow our tears? First, we must always bring our tears to Jesus. We need to lament in prayer before Him and know that he catches each tear in a bottle. He sees and cares about each and every tear that we cry. Our faith and love for him will strengthen as we trust him to use those captured tears for his glory. In prayer, we’ll plant our tears for the salvation of loved ones, for those hurting, for our own sin and for growth in our faith.
Matthew Henry wrote, “there are tears which are themselves the seed that we must sow, tears of sorrow for sin, our own and others, tears of sympathy with the afflicted church, and the tears of tenderness in prayer and under the word. These are precious seed, such as the husbandman sows when corn is dear and he has but little for his family, and therefore weeps to part with it, yet buries it under ground, in expectation of receiving it again with advantage.”
We also need to consider how we can use our tears to encourage others with the same encouragement Christ has given us. Our tears will reap a harvest for the kingdom when we reach out to others in the name of Jesus. God will not waste our tears. He collects each and every one and uses them in His redemptive plan. We can sow our tears when we tell our stories to one another. When we share our stories of hope in the midst of pain, of healing from wounds, and of resurrected joy, God uses those stories to reap a harvest in someone else’s life.
We may not see the final harvest of our sowing. But we sow because we trust that God will weave our stories of sorrow into the Greater Story of Redemption. What we can’t see now will make sense in eternity. Each of our stories are important to the final tapestry of grace. We have to sow in faith and believe that one day, “He will wipe away every tear from our eyes.”
When life’s circumstances bring sorrow, may we sow our tears in prayer. May we trust that God will not waste our tears but will use each and every one. May we reach out to those God has placed in our life and share our stories with them. And may each tear we sow be used for His glory, bringing in the harvest full of eternal joy.
What is your story? How might God be using your tears in His Greater Story?
Linking up with the Gratitude Community, sharing God’s endless grace in my life: (#2118-2132)
that our tears are never wasted
that God uses each one
that one day we will see the full harvest of joy
that Jesus knows and understands the tears we cry
that Jesus was willing to take on all my sorrows at the cross
that one day, all our tears will be wiped away forever
that my own tears remind me that this world is not my home
my Indelible Grace station on Pandora:)
celebrating the return of Psyche with my besties and all things pineapple
seeing God at work through prayer
the way He works in and through our weakness
going to see Casting Crowns with my husband, just the two of us
my youngest asking me to stay for a sleep over in his room:)
making the Great Wall of China with my son as a homeschool project–so fun!