“To ‘go out weeping, carrying seed to sow’ means something more than just pouring out our sorrow. We are called to sow out tears, not waste them.”- Timothy Keller
“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”- Psalm 126:5-6 (NIV)
Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 11 of Hope in Times of Fear as he talks about a joy that comes through sorrow. Not just in spite of it. Because there’s a way to weep, a sorrow that bears fruit. And that fruit includes a deeper happiness.
Above all, Pastor Keller observes, Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians most clearly applies this pattern to suffering. Paul received divine comfort only because he suffered. Thus he received “the peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).”
Furthermore, Pastor Keller lists two reasons why Paul never lost heart in the face of his sufferings. Because Paul’s sufferings were:
- renewing him – Paul’s joy in God, peace in God, love, and meaning in God’s calling anchored his heart in unshakable truths.
- preparing him for future, eternal glory. Here preparing means a process of cultivation, better preparing one to experience and receive something.
In conclusion, Pastor Keller ties the call to sow our tears to the resurrection. He writes:
“The principle of joy produced by sorrow and strength out of weakness is operative because Jesus was raised from the dead. Paul says because the resurrection of Jesus happened, it’s the very meaning of history that redemption comes out of injustice; that life comes out of death.
. . . Jesus’s suffering did not just give way to joy, it produced it. His agony and weeping were substitutionary. He took our punishment. Thus his weeping was the ultimate sowing in tears and produced the ultimate weeping in joy. His tears and blood redeemed us. Remembering his tears and suffering for us, we now will weep and grieve differently.”
Today’s question: How do you respond to Pastor Keller’s assertion that we are called to sow our tears, not waste them? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Justice and peace reign supreme”