Scripture for the Day: Psalm 126
A Harvest of Joy.1
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”3 The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.5 May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.6 Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing ,shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
You’ve likely seen the videos that have been circulating in the media of frontline workers and COVID-19 survivors returning home after weeks, sometimes months, away from their families. The emotions flooding out of these individuals are overwhelming. The emotions flooding out of ME are overwhelming! Having just had my first child nearly 8 months ago, the thought of being separated from her for any amount of time drives my intense reaction to these families being reunited. Psalm 126 depicts the deliverance of the people of God returning home from exile in Babylon. The psalm interprets their feelings of restoration after suffering through a time of being forced out of their native lands. I imagine the joy and outpouring of emotion that the people in these videos display reflects the joy the people of God felt upon returning from exile. The relief of finally holding your loved ones in your arms or safely returning home after a time of uncertain fate is surely joyous.
A Harvest of Joy. Doesn’t that sound incredible these days? I could certainly use a harvest of joy right about now. When I read this psalm, I was struck by verse two, “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy.” Laughter and joy is something I’ve missed a lot over the last three months. Not that I haven’t laughed or experienced joy while at home with my family, but the incredible fear, suffering, and injustice that has flooded our world this year has certainly stifled most of the joy I’ve felt. We’re in the midst of a tumultuous storm right now, and when you’re in the midst of a storm it’s very difficult to imagine the rainbow that awaits you. Lately, life is filled with sorrow, grief, fear, boredom, anger, tension, and frustration. It’s defeating. But let this psalm be our reminder that joy and laughter will find us again, because our Lord does great things for us. While times are hard now, the time will come when we look back and rejoice with thankfulness for the ways God restored us.