Experiencing Joy: Psalm 126
Oh, to be counted again among “those who dream” (v 1). There are many who have been rendered dreamless by frustration, oppression, circumstances, health, and economic crises-setbacks of every sort. To dream and to hope are signs of spiritual and emotional health. Health can be restored.
This psalm is launched from a restoration and gives testimony to dreams and laughter. Just as with dreams, laughter is not a part of everyone’s life. You may know that all too well. This psalm also acknowledges “those who sow in tears” (v 5). For some, all energy is expended through tears. Pain is universal, and so too the tears it produces. Pain is personal; it isolates us. Some do their work every day through the tears of pain-whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, it’s still pain.
But the Lord restores the fortunes of Zion, the “nation” of those who believe. This passage has been used to hustle the poor. God is not a part of such deceit. Dreams, laughter, and joy are the fortunes of this passage and this God and these believers. Financial fortunes cannot protect dreams, laughter, or joy. This is proven over and over again.
Dreams, laughter, and joy are the signs that, “the Lord has done great things” (v 2b) for someone. But God dwells with the poor and the oppressed. Jesus came to confirm that, to teach us and show us the truth of it. God being with the poor, the depressed, and oppressed is why the psalmist can pray in verse 5 with such ease and confidence, “those who sow in tears [might] reap with shouts of joy,” and in verse 6, “those who go out weeping,shall come home with shouts of joy.” God is with them.
The rich are not connected to the poor by money handed down. The rich are connected to the poor by dreams, laughter, and joy shared as gifts from God. The poor can often minister to the rich through this connection.
Verses 5-6 tell us that those who weep bear the seeds of joy. Pause here for a moment in your reading. Those who weep bear the seeds of joy.
Those who weep do so because their hearts are still capable of caring. Those who weep are those who are still capable of dreaming. Those who weep have not forgotten joy. Indeed, one who sees God at work weeps for joy. Weeping and joy are close companions, whichever one is at the forefront at any given moment. Crying for restoration can become weeping for joy. What hope is here!
“Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves” (v 6). There is a harvest for those who weep. Their hearts are soft enough to receive restored dreams and laughter and joy. They know that God is with them and that they can participate in restoration. Mercy and justice bring joy to the heart of God. They bring joy to the hearts of the oppressed and frustrated as well. God’s desires match their desires.
When those who believe are reconnected to what is in God’s heart, they will be dreamers again. They will laugh again. They will, again, experience joy.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord; restore our dreams and laughter and joy.
A word about the series
The Lenten season has always inspired many people to create everything from poems, art and music to a completely new direction in their lives. This Lenten season Tabernacle will be exploring many of those creations in the hope of inspiring you to compose in a medium that is natural for you. The paintings in the Sanctuary are of the Biblical Stations of the Cross. The artist, Grieg Leach, completed them in 2010. They will help us to visualize the events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus. In addition to the paintings there is a Lenten devotional booklet, Return to Me, which is available in print or online. The Stations of the Cross also inspired these devotions, written by Terry York of Baylor University. Living with these two bodies of artistic expression based on the Biblical Stations of the Cross throughout the season of Lent should help us as we seek to return our lives to God by walking with Jesus though his final days.
Pray, read, think and return to God.
All scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible.
Copyright © 2013 Birnamwood Publications (ASCAP)
A division of MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc., St. Louis, MO
All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A.