Do me a favor and please read Psalm 126.
When things aren’t going well what do you, or we, tend to do? We reminisce and we hope. THAT’S where the people of God are in our text. They remember the time when things were really good and God restored all their fortunes. They remember the time when they dreamed beautiful dreams, laughed till their sides hurt, sang till their voices went hoarse, and all that goodness spread across the nations. Why? Because God was good and he blessed his people (these are verses 1-3). This here, is how the people of God reminisced.
But now? Now isn’t good. There are no fortunes. There is no joy to sing and laugh about for now we cry and weep. But it’s beyond that. The author is saying that they “sow with tears.” So as they go out into the fields it is their weeping that carries the seed. This is some vivid imagery and word use as crying is a short-term immediate response whereas weeping is a full-on body-collapsing avalanche of tears. And so in these verses (4-6) the people see their current situation and it hurts – and yet they aren’t staying in that pain. Those tears and sorrows aren’t going to remain for they know that God will restore. So while they understand their current situation it is their FUTURE situation that carries them each day.
It is really hard to look past your current lot in life. It’s often difficult to emotionally dig out of your pit and past your current situations to see the hope to come. We even having a saying that “You cannot see past the tip of your nose.” What that means is that you’ve got about an inch past your eyeballs to where you can clearly see – and that’s about it. And why? Because we focus so hard on what’s in front of us that we fail to see what’s around us. And often times our focus is on our surroundings and those surroundings then invade our emotions. The difficulty we have is that we simply do not know what’s coming down the trail that’s ahead of us.
I once heard an analogy that has been helpful for me in my own life and when talking with others. So often when darkness is closing in we tend to run as fast as we can towards the setting sun and away from the darkness. The hope we have is that if we can just get closer to the sun then the light will remain longer. That if we can get closer to the sun we can outrun the darkness. The problem? No matter how fast we run or how far we run the sun is still going to go down and darkness is still going to set in. What we should be doing? Running the opposite way. Run IN to the darkness. Now that advice may seem strange but when we run IN to the darkness (and opposite the setting sun) we are actually running IN to the RISING sun. So yes, darkness is around us quicker – but it won’t last as long. This is the “hope” that the psalmist speaks of. It’s the encouragement to look past your current situation and look to the one that comes for YOU KNOW it DOES COME.
Just as running towards the sun means that we acknowledge that hope is coming and that the current reality, the current darkness, will not last the psalmist is not stuck in their current place but looking towards the hope to come. Yes they have tears, yes they weep, but their heads are up and eyes are set. And that’s another thing…KEEP YOUR HEAD UP. When in turmoil and distress, when weeping and crying, don’t keep your head down. When we stare at the ground we cannot see, we cannot feel, we cannot hope for we are stuck right where we are. Hope looks up. Hope looks forward. Restoration and renewal comes from in front and above but we cannot see it when staring at our feet or the barren ground in which we walk.
But let’s be clear: the psalmist isn’t saying don’t cry or weep or be in pain from where you currently are. On the contrary, they speak of still going out, still sowing, and still living their life. WHILE CRYING Yes, it sucks. Yes it’s painful. Yes they long for joy and hope but they aren’t sitting where they are in misery. They are moving on. No matter how painful it is…move on. No matter how dark it is, lift your head up. No matter how hard the tears flow don’t stare at the ground.
One of my favorite movies is The Shawshank Redemption. And in the movie Red has this line, “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.” How true is that!? This is kind of a mantra we need to live by for our hope, just like the Israelites, is of what is to come – so live for THAT DAY. Christ declared that he will return and when he does? He will make all things new. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:4)
Part of the reality of all of this is that we struggle when in darkness – and right now many people are struggling. So with that being said here are some things to remember:
- “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” – Romans 12:12
- “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” – 1 Peter 5:10
- “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may about in hope.” – Romans 5:13
Hope comes because Christ comes. So while we may be in darkness now, while we may be weeping now…our tears WILL turn to joy and laughter and songs once sung will be sung once more. But this time? The singing won’t stop…only the tears and weeping will.