Text: Psalm 126 | Listen to Message
Everyone wants to be joyful. But wanting and experiencing joy are two different things – especially when you consider that many of our instincts and intuitions ultimately undermine the very joy we seek.
God wants us to be joyful. In fact, he commands us to be joyful! But God knows better than anyone that the journey to joy requires the right perspectives on our past, our present, and our future
1. Remember the past.
Psalm 126:1-3 – When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
You must deliberately choose to look back and recount the great things God has done for you. Everyone’s past is a mixed bag of successes and failures, triumphs and trials, good times and bad. The trick is to acknowledge the pain while choosing to focus on the goodness, the greatness, and the grace of God
2. Repeat the prayer.
Psalm 126:4 – Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb!
What is it you need or want God to do? If you believe, on the authority of God’s Word, that’s an appropriate thing to depend on God for, then don’t just complain – or even meditate on this – pray! Pray with patient persistence. Ask God in a way that says, “I still need this and I still believe you’re the source of it.”
3. Rely on the promise.
Psalm 126:5-6 – Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
What’s the promise of this psalm? Joy – more specifically, that you will reap a harvest of joy! Does that sound like something you want? Then how do you get there?
It’s a law of both science and Scripture: you will reap only what you have sown. So it sounds paradoxical to say that you must sow in tears – or with weeping – in order to reap a harvest of joy, doesn’t it? Let’s explore that for a moment.
What does it mean to “sow in (or through the midst of) tears”? To ask it a little differently, what are some reasons you might weep while you’re sowing? Here are five:
- The soil is incredibly hard.
- The season is incredibly harsh.
- The opposition is incredibly fierce.
- The work is incredibly painful.
- The stakes are incredibly high.
In other words, as you seek to live for Christ, it won’t all be easy. You will encounter people and circumstances that bring pain to your heart and tears to your eyes. Sowing the seeds of faith, obedience, and even the Gospel itself, will prove very difficult at times. But keep sowing!
There’s another reason you might weep while sowing. Sometimes you’re just in a funk, and everything’s harder than it should be, and the littlest things make you want to cry. You feel like giving up. Throwing in the towel. Quitting. But God’s telling you here you’ve got to keep sowing in faith no matter how sad, difficult, or hopeless your situation seems to be.
This is one of the greatest “secrets” to real joy: trust Jesus and plant the right kinds of seeds regardless of how you feel.
See, reliance doesn’t mean passivity or laziness. It means active surrender. It’s a partnership, a collaboration. Because you believe in the new supernatural power and new life of the seed, and because you believe that God will do with that seed what only God can do, you sow it. And you sow it profligately. And you sow it right on through the midst of your tears. And against all odds, some of it takes root, and begins to sprout, and eventually bears the fruit that brings joy.
So if you want joy, remember this:
Joy comes from remembering God’s goodness in our yesterdays, trusting him with all our todays, and working in faith toward his preferred tomorrows.