Daily Devotion - Thursday, March 10, 2016

4 Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. 5 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. 6 Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

The ancient Hebrew people who first sang Psalm 126 were recalling their own history--one that was marked with exile, sorrow and the destruction of the Temple, which was the very center of their faith life.  

But one day their prayers were answered and they were allowed to return to their homeland to rebuild.  They were able to look back on the grief, the loss and the tears and say, "Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them."  

You could easily replace the phrase "carrying seed to sow" with "carrying seeds of faith." Those seeds of faith that the ancient Hebrew people carried with them into exile, were filled with the potential for incredible hope and restoration.  The Hebrew people were stricken with grief at losing all they had known, but those seeds of faith they planted, and watered with their tears in a foreign land kept a glimmer of hope alive.   

Grief comes in a variety of forms.  We feel grief over the loss of a loved one or a shattered marriage.   But we also feel grief over the loss of a job, the realization that we are growing older or changes in our life that turn our world upside down.  And then there are times when as parents we also feel grief over broken relationships with our children.

I'm fairly certain that my parents shed their fair share of tears over me when I was young man.  At age eighteen I left home, but long before that moment, I'd abandoned my faith, tossed aside the morals I'd been taught and even given up any real belief in God.  The realization of all of this I am sure filled them with intense grief.  

Looking back, I can't imagine what my parents must have felt watching the son they'd raised in the Christian faith walk away so easily from it, and head blindly toward self-destruction.  I've counseled far too many parents of adult children, who find themselves in a similar situation, though.  

When I stand up in the pulpit on Sunday mornings, I am blessed beyond measure to look out and see my parents sitting among the congregation.  All those years ago, I am sure they could not imagine the future that awaited all of us.  None of us would have ever thought they would spend their Sundays listening to me preach.  But they planted their seeds of faith, watered them with tears and prayers, and God gave us all a great harvest. 

If you are feeling loss and grief today, take comfort.  Even the smallest seed of faith when planted and watered with tears and prayers can grow into something beautiful, whole and life-giving.  May you be filled with hope and anticipation of what God is going to do to give you that great harvest.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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