Psalm 126 – The Joy Harvest

Psalm 126 Bible with Justin's Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups held in photographer's hand

Today’s ChocolateJustin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Today’s PassagePsalm 126

I remember one occasion when I was six or seven that my family went to visit my grandmother in Georgia. We arrived fairly late at night, and as sometimes happens to tired six-year-olds, I had become inexplicably sad. The whole world just seemed to have a blue shade drawn over it. And when we arrived at my grandmother’s house, I told her, “I’m feeling down tonight. I don’t really feel like having fun.” But grandmothers are magical, and within fifteen minutes she had me laughing and carrying on with her and my brother. She’d lifted my blues.

My grandmother, like many other grandmothers, was tight with God, and I believe he was the source of her magical power to get a duck’s-insteppin’ kid back in the fun zone. God, as Psalm 126 shows, is in the business of reversing fortunes and turning dirges into dance music. Rejoicing over the liberation of captives and their return to Zion, The psalmist declares: “Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him” (126:5-6). He uses the harvest as a metaphor. Laborers lament while they work, crying and seeding the fields, but the reward of the harvest lifts the sorrow from their shoulders and brings joy to their spirits.

And this psalm isn’t the only place where you can find this theme. Psalm 30 contains a well-known verse reiterating God’s power to bring joy: “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness” (30:11). God offers a change of music and a change of clothing, free of charge. And Jesus himself promises his disciples, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy” (John 16:20). They may have mourned at his crucifixion, but he himself turns their grief into joy as he shows them in his resurrected body that death does not have the last word. Time and space are rife with God’s liberating, celebratory work, and if these days you’re watering the soil with your tears, I pray that God will give you the power to reap the crops you’re growing and party when the crops come in.

 

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