When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The Lord has done great things for them"
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
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.
I absolutely adore this psalm. I "discovered" it on Easter Sunday. I didn't participate in Easter dinner. Honestly, I didn't feel up for it. Instead I drove to Newport (or the beach, if you're not from RI) after church to just reflect on things and to pray. I found a spot to stare out at the ocean and opened my bible. I flipped around a little bit until I stopped and found this psalm which I read aloud.
My prayers, every thing I asked for, hoped for, dreamed for, cried for - felt as if God was affirming they were received with this psalm. I just love this! (Did I say that already? Forgive me! I really enjoy it.)
We were like those who dreamed... To receive blessings, answers to prayer, don't we just look like a bunch of dreamers? Awe-struck, peaceful, content, joyous? That's how we feel again when the Lord answers our prayers. Our mouths will be filled with laughter and our tongues with songs of joy. I believe this is not only when we receive our answers but also when we lift up our prayers. How joyous it is to know He hears our petitions and will respond?
"In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests by made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:6-7
Then it was said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them." The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. (Emphasis my own). Others will also see our blessings. Others will delight in the good works of the Lord and will proclaim how good He is. I love to put the emphasis on this. The Lord has done great things for us. Because to me that speaks not just in the future when we receive our answers and blessings but also of this very present time. When we can look back and say he has been good and faithful to us.
Because of this assurance from the past we can be filled with joy in the present time. Not only because He answered our past prayers, but because we know He will answer our present prayers in the future.
"And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." -Matthew 21:22
This is what fills us with joy. This knowledge. Other translations say "And we are glad." Not only are we FILLED with joy but we can outwardly show it because we are glad! That brings it back to the point that others will see and believe!
Those who sow with tears shall reap with songs of joy... Blessings, friends! When we tearfully pray, we are sowing blessings that will reap joy for us. This was a big deal for me that day and continues to be to this day. Our tears are not wasted. They do not fall by the wayside.
"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." -Psalm 56:8
God sees our suffering and promises to restore us with songs of joy.
"Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you." -Zechariah 9:12
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow... Another version says 'He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing.' That's more like me. Continually crying in prayer (seed for sowing). I like in this version that instead of "carrying" the seed to sow, it is "bearing" seed for sowing. Sometimes it feels like we are just enduring one pain after another. Bearing exemplifies just how heavy that seed is that we are carrying.
But take heart!
Will return with songs of joy,carrying sheaves with them or as the NKJV states; 'Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.' All our prayers will come back to us. There is no doubt. One way or another. It may not look like what we prayed for but God promises it will be better than we could have imagined. We go out carrying our prayers and come back carrying our blessings. We reap what we sow and if we sow our prayers in earnest expectation then we can be glad to know we will receive answers to our prayers.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. -Ephesians 3:20
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