Sow in Tears, Reap in Gladness

Good morning. It is Monday, April 13, 2015. Today is the Home Opener in Boston’s Fenway Park.

Today’s Word of the Day is lovelify. I like this word. It means exactly what I thought it would mean, “To make lovely; to beautify.” I hope I get a chance to use it today.

Today is Scrabble Day. Or, if you don’t have time for Scrabble, you could always play the phone app version, “Words with Friends.” I mean, seriously, who has time for a game of Scrabble, any more?

We visited my parents again, yesterday evening. I think my dad was a little better. The time he was awake, he was slightly more alert, I think. The fever isn’t totally gone, yet, and my mother said she thought he felt a little warmer, yesterday. But the powers that be didn’t seem terribly concerned with that, and are continuing to treat it with antibiotics. We watched part of the Rangers game, and he was aware of what was going on. As we were leaving, he smiled (which I believe was the first time I have seen him do that since the fall) and said, “I love you.” That was significant, too. A speech therapist came by, yesterday, and figured out a way to help him eat. They have his bed configured more like a recliner, which helps him sit up better. This enables him to swallow more efficiently. Plus they started pureeing his food, which also makes it easier. I was more encouraged by yesterday’s visit than I have been since last Wednesday. Still a long road ahead, though. I’m not sure, but I think we may just call, this evening. I guess we will see how we feel.

Monday, Monday, back to work again.

In other news, speaking of that Rangers game, they lost a heartbreaker in extra innings. The Astros’ right fielder robbed Leonys Martin of a game-winning grand slam in one of those innings. The Astros scored two in the top of the 14th, and the Rangers, in spite of getting the bases loaded in the bottom of the 14th, couldn’t bring any of them home. 6-4 in 14 innings. The Red Sox weren’t that close. They lost 14-4 to the Evil Empire, after Clay Buchholz had a very bad 1st inning.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.
I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul,
and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.
Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many— terror on every side!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!
O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol.
Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.
Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.
I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.
Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!

Psalm 31:6-24

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Talk To Your Tears.”

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.

Psalm 126:5-6

There is nothing sad about the work of sowing seed, or carrying seed. So why does the Psalmist speak of sowing in tears? One possibility has nothing to do with sadness of the job, or even the difficulty of the job. It has nothing to do with the sowing, itself. It has to do, rather, with “the work that has to be done even when there are things in life that make us cry.”

“The crops won’t wait while we finish our grief or solve all our problems. If we are going to eat next winter, we must get out in the field and sow the seed whether we are crying or not.” In other words, even in the midst of our sadness, we have to get on with life. The promise is clear. If we go ahead and do that, later, we will “come home with shouts of joy.” No matter what the circumstances, sowing will produce reaping, and we need to remember that in the midst of our sadness and/or trials.

The lesson is this: When there is work to be done, and we are full of sadness and tears, go ahead and do the job with the tears. Feel the tears. Say to them, “Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed, car to be fixed, sermon to be written).”

Then, based on the promises of God, we can also say to them, “Tears, I know that you will not stay forever. The very fact that I just do my work (tears and all) will in the end bring a harvest of blessing. So go ahead and flow if you must. But I believe (I do not yet see it or feel it fully) — I believe that the simple work of my sowing will bring sheaves of harvest. And your tears will be turned to joy.”

Father, you keep bringing me readings that are so appropriate for my circumstances. Thank you for these words of wisdom today. For I must go to work, and I must do the work efficiently. If I could, I would go sit at the hospital all day, every day. But that would neither be good for my job, nor my family. Life goes on; work must be done. Yes, there may be tears, but that’s okay. I don’t need to pretend I’m not sad, or not concerned (am I worried? Not necessarily.) about what is going on with my father, right now. This is a part of life, and we must bear it as such. But help me to go ahead and have the strength to sow in tears, that I might, one day, reap with joy and gladness. This sadness, this trial, will not last forever. “This, too, shall pass,” as they say.

I pray for this day. I pray for safe travel to and from work. I pray for Christi’s day, that she might be able to get her work accomplished with no anxiety. I pray for my parents, today. I pray for continued improvement in my dad’s condition, and that he might, eventually, return to being at least close to how he was before. I pray for strength for my mother, that she might draw great strength and comfort from your presence. I pray that, perhaps, others from their home town might come to visit. Thank you for those who came yesterday! Please bring blessings to their lives for their kindness. I also pray for Stephanie, Rachel, and Justin, that you might bring them what they need most in this day. Show your great love to them, and draw them closer to your heart.

Your grace is sufficient!

Many people have reason to be sad today, people all over the world. May those of us who are brothers and sisters in Christ be faithful to sow in tears, doing the work that is necessary, even in our sadness. God has promised that we will, one day, reap in gladness. Hold on to those promises, dear friends.

psalm-126-5

Grace and peace, friends.

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