“Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy” Psalm 126
I love the image conveyed by that scripture. A farmer
goes out into the field and his tears fall to the ground.
And, in due time, those tears yield a harvest of joy. Our
God loves to turn sorrow into joy. He can redeem even
the worst of our days and turn them into the greatest
times of joy.
God took the sorrow of the cross and turned it into the
great joy of the resurrection. He took the pain and suffering
of our Lord and transformed it into His ultimate victory.
The tears of the disciples yield songs of joy.
It’s interesting that the Gospels don’t describe in more
detail the suffering of our Lord. Mark says: “He [Pilate]
had Jesus flogged and handed him over to be crucified.”
That’s all it says about these horrible means of torture.
The Roman flogging was brutal. The leather whip would
be laced with bone or other sharp objects that would literally
tear someone’s back apart. The flogging was so severe
that it killed some people. And crucifixion was one
of the most heinous instruments of torture and death ever
invented. We can’t even imagine the pain that Jesus endured
or the shame of hanging there naked like a common
criminal, while the crowd jeered Him and taunted
It is also hard for us to imagine the sorrow of the disciples.
They had abandoned Jesus, one of them had betrayed
Him, and Peter had denied Him three times. They
had utterly failed the one they knew was the messiah.
I’m sure their grief and shame produced a river of tears.
And then God redeemed the sorrow and transformed it
into pure joy. Jesus is alive! He is risen! Think of the
power of the resurrection joy. They went from the very
darkest depths of sorrow to the highest pinnacle of joy.
Our God loves to transform sorrow into joy.
One day Loren Eiseley, an anthropologist, leaned
against a stump at the edge of a small glade and fell
“When I awoke dimly aware of some commotion and
outcry in the clearing, the light was slanting down
through the pines in such a way that the glade was lit like
some vast cathedral. I could see the dust mote of wood
pollen in the long shaft of light, and there on the extended
branch sat an enormous raven with a red and squirming
nestling in his beak. The sound that awoke me was the
outraged cries of the nestling’s parents, who flew help
lessly in circles about the clearing. The sleek black monster
was indifferent to them. He gulped, whetted his beak
on the dead branch a moment and sat still. Up to that
point the little tragedy had followed the usual pattern.
But suddenly, out of all that area of woodland a soft
sound of complaint began to rise. Into the glade fluttered
small birds of half a dozen varieties drawn by the anguished
outcries of the tiny parents.
No one dared to attack the raven. But they cried there
in some instinctive common misery. The bereaved and
the unbereaved. The glade filled with their soft rustling
and their cries. They fluttered as though to point their
wings at the murderer, the black bird at the heart of life,
sat on there, glistening in the common light, formidable,
unmoving, unperturbed, untouchable.
The sighing died. It was then I saw the judgment. It
was the judgment of life against death. I will never see it
again so forcefully presented. I will never hear it again
in notes so tragically prolonged. For in the midst of protest,
they forgot the violence. There, in that clearing, the
crystal note of a song sparrow lifted hesitantly in the
hush. And finally, after painful fluttering, another took
the song, and then another, the song passing from one
bird to another, doubtfully at first, as though some evil
thing were being slowly forgotten. Till suddenly they
took heart and sang from many throats joyously together
as birds are known to sing. They sang because life is
sweet and sunlight beautiful. They sang under the brooding
shadow of the raven. In simple truth they had forgotten
the raven, for they were the singers of life, and not of
death.” Creative Brooding, Robert Raines
How much more should we be singers of life. God
has taken our tears and given us a harvest of joy. The resurrection
redeems our sorrow and transforms it into
blessing. Jesus promises to give us His joy and assures
us it will never be taken away.
May the joy of Easter make you a singer of life.
Grace and Peace,