Sowing in Tears/Reaping a Harvest
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him (Psalm 126:5, 6).
In Beth Moore’s workbook “Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Ascent (Moore, Beth. Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Ascent. 2007. Lifeway Press, Nashville, TN. pp. 80-81), as she discusses Psalm 126, she writes:
“I want what these verses promise. I need to know I’ll never endure a season of tears that can’t turn into a harvest of joy”. (Ibid.)
And isn’t this how we all feel? She then connects this Psalm with the parable of the seed found in Luke 8:11-25, and her insight brings with it some very important answers for me.
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (Luke 8:11-15).
Moore relates how she and her husband visited a very poor African nation where children were severely malnourished. She tells of a missionary friend who explained to her that “… one of the most frustrating things is that in villages where they receive seed, they often eat the seed rather than planting it and bringing forth the harvest.”
This settled in her heart as she asked God to expand this into a possible explanation for the parable of the seed in Luke 8:11-15.
“Why do some people see the results of the Word and others don’t? Why do some study the Word of God yet remain in their captivity?
“Some just eat the seed and never sow it for a harvest. You want examples? Why have many of us heard hundreds of messages on freedom, done every line of Bible studies like Breaking Free, wept over them, been blessed by them, and even memorized parts of them, yet remain in captivity? Because we ate the seed instead of sowing it. Why have many of us read books on forgiving people, known the teachings were true and right, cried over them, marked them up with our highlighters, yet remain in our bitterness? Because we ate the seed instead of sowing it. Why have we repeatedly heard how Christ has forgiven our sinful pasts and sobbed with gratitude over the grace of it, yet we remain in bondage to condemnation? Because we ate the seed instead of sowing it.
“Sometimes we don’t even realize the difference. We’ll think we accepted the teaching because we were so moved by it. But you see, the seed of God’s word can fill our stomachs and give us immediate satisfaction and still not produce a harvest—that’s when we eat it but don’t sow it. Many times we apply biblical truth to our theologies without applying it to the actual practicalities of life.
“I cannot say this loudly enough. God’s word is meant to be applied to our reality. We can ‘Amen!’ the pastor as he preaches sacrificial love. We can walk to the car and comment on the great sermon he gave, drive home, and march in as mean and cold as the person who pulled out of the driveway. We decide surely God did not mean to apply His truth to our reality because He knows how difficult this or that person is to love. What just happened? We ate the seed instead of sowing it….
“[M]any of us will eat the seed instead of sowing it. Then we charge God with unfaithfulness when we don’t get the harvest He promised. God repeatedly says that a harvest is sown, not eaten as seed. We have to get down on our knees in the hardship of our circumstances and apply God’s word to the most difficult places, believing God will bring a harvest. Forgiving others, for instance, is a beautiful theology but a difficult reality. Those who apply it have a harvest for the rest of their lives. We were meant to eat from the sheaves, not from the seeds.” (Ibid.)
Sowing the seed for a harvest for me happens when I am abiding in Christ, taking every single issue in my life to Him, allowing Him to work his Word into my thinking, believing Him—not merely believing in Him. It is allowing Him to separate the truth from the lies in my mind and emotions. Bottom line—it is letting Him be God, letting Him walk out the story He is weaving in my life as it relates to His bigger picture—His above-the-line story—and being at rest in that story.
Sowing in tears is also prayer that has gone seemingly unanswered. There will be a harvest, though I have sown so long in tears—He has promised, and I have sown that promise: Abraham “… against hope, believed…” (Romans 4:18).
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galations 6:9).
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand (James 5:7-8).
Sow the seed with tears; wait for the harvest. It will come.
It will come.