Updated: Jan 22
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
A Time to Weep, and a Time to Laugh
What does sowing a seed mean? It means to plant a seed, to sow a crop, to scatter seed over the earth for the purpose of growth.
There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4). There is a season of sowing and a season of reaping, and there is nothing super fun or glamorous about sowing. Sowing takes hard work, endurance, patience, and faith by God’s grace. And not only is sowing hard work, but there is sometimes heartache and discouragement that accompanies it, especially when it’s a long season of sowing. That season could be a plethora of things, whether it's parenting, schooling, looking for work, building a career or ministry, grieving a loss, going through life’s transitions, or earnestly praying for others to repent and see the light of the gospel.
Sowing Produces Reaping
As Christians, even when our labor seems to be in vain and our prayers seem to go unheard, our hope must be in the Lord and His perfect timing and will. As His children, we must believe that our hard work and genuine prayers never slip by unnoticed by our loving, Heavenly Father. He is the God almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and there is not one unruly molecule that is out of place in the entire universe. He most certainly takes careful notice and gives full attention to His child's efforts and prayers to Him. To be so loved by God - there is nothing better than that!
We must trust in the Lord that in our tears of sowing we will reap shouts of joy through His faithfulness and goodness over our lives. It's not the tears of sowing that produce the joy of reaping, rather it's the act of sowing that produces the reaping, in which we rejoice. And when our tears try to hold us back from sowing, we must remember that joy is coming if we just press on. We can't let our tears keep us from sowing, which is what brings forth the joy. There is a blessed hope when we sow in tears faithfully and wait on the Lord through our seasons of labor. That hope is in who God is and what He’s already done for us on the cross through Jesus Christ, our glorious Lord and Savior. Our hope is in the goodness of God, in the certainty of His grace, blessings, and promises, namely in the promise of all promises - eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
We must keep sowing through our tears, and we must not be surprised that sowing is often hard and labor-some, even heart-breaking at times. However, sowing always precedes reaping. Tears precede joy. Reaping and rejoicing surely follow when the grain finally sprouts from the seed that took work to plant and faith and patience to grow. When we faithfully sow in tears, we have the certainty of the hope that we will reap shouts of joy in God’s perfect timing.
A Lifetime of Sowing, An Eternity of Reaping
On a grander scale, as Christians we can look at this short life as a lifetime of sowing in tears that will eventually lead to reaping an eternity of joy and laughter. May the certainty of God's promise of eternal life to all those who believe in Christ Jesus keep us sowing faithfully in this life, our eyes fixed on Christ. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). May the hope of heaven keep us faithfully sowing in tears, without giving up or throwing in the towel in this life. May we cling to the promise that one day God will wipe away every tear and death and crying shall be no more (Rev 21:4). One day, we will experience an eternity of reaping in joy that will be unparalleled to anything we’ve ever known in this short lifetime of sowing in tears.
Whoever Loves His Life Loses It, Whoever Hates His Life Keeps it for Eternity
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24-26
Just as a grain of wheat must fall into the earth and die for it to bring forth much harvest, so also Jesus had to die for salvation to come about for many. And this idea of death here doesn’t only apply to Jesus, but it applies to all those who believe in Him. We must die to self (hate and forsake the worldly things – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life), take up our crosses, and forsake our own wills. We must trust in Jesus by submitting to His will if we are to bear much spiritual fruit here on earth and keep our lives for an eternity, reaping eternal joy in Him. When we die to self in this world, which is often hard to do, we can be comforted by God’s eternal promise and blessings, and we can be strengthened by the power of His Spirit working in us. work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil 2:13). His grace is sufficient and it's Him who works in us! When we die to self in this life, we are sowing in tears so that we may grow to become more like Christ every day, reaping joy through our obedience to Him.
Through suffering for the sake of Christ and the sowing of this lifetime, we will bear much spiritual fruit here on earth and bring forth harvest like a grain of wheat that is sown in tears…which will eventually bring forth shouts of joy for all eternity.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Help me to live a life faithful to you, submitted to Your Lordship and trusting in You, suffering well for Your sake, knowing that You have blessed me with eternal life by grace through faith in You. May my tears of sowing reap joy and laughter! Lord, I ask that You strengthen me by Your grace through my tears of this lifetime. May I always fix my eyes on Jesus and the light of the gospel, and may You help me to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).
May we all go in peace and serve the Lord! All glory belongs to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, forever and ever! In Jesus’ Name, I pray amen.
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4-5
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
John Piper on sowing in tears:
So, here’s the lesson: When there are simple, straightforward jobs to be done, and you are full of sadness, and tears are flowing easily, go ahead and do the jobs with tears. Be realistic. Say to your tears, “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 say, on the basis of God’s word, “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 — though 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 my tears will be turned to joy. - John Piper