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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Sowing Tears

This past weekend I flew 700 miles to say goodbye to a friend I loved very much. It’s arguably one of the most difficult things I’ve done, considering the past weeks have been unbearable as I waited for updates about a beautiful young woman who was fighting cancer for a fourth time. I couldn’t bear to mourn by myself so I flew home, unsure of what the weekend held for me.

While I knew she was dancing, running and eating, and that she was whole and alive, my heart was broken. Sweet memories came back to me and lingered in my mind like sad little houseguests.

As I watched the sunrise from thousands of feet in the air, I listened to an audiobook about how to find beauty in the midst of things that weren’t beautiful at all. I’d purchased it when my friend began struggling with cancer, but now as I listened, I heard things I hadn’t caught before—particularly the concept of sowing tears and reaping joy. 

I thought it was too good to be true. Maybe the author was making it up. But sure enough, a quick search proved it.

"Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” Psalm 126:5 (NIV)

You can’t grow a plant without a seed. You can’t get the joy without the tears.  And I don’t understand how God does it, but when you sow your tears, you get joy.

For the longest time, I’d avoided feeling. I found ways to numb pain, because pain hurt too much—and I had no joy. But God changed that, and now I have no choice but to feel things I’d often rather escape. For those who choose not to escape, God promises great things.

I think of it like a pitcher. If you fill it up and never let anything out, you can’t put anything back in. If you live with your hurts and pains bottled up in the name of being strong, there isn’t anything you can possibly fit into the bottle.

Sowing tears is like emptying this pitcher. It’s draining when you let yourself feel that much. It’s weakening and it leaves you raw. Yet, when you are at your lowest is when God moves in. Without anything to fill yourself up with, He graciously fills you up. God is a God of good things; when He fills you, He can only fill you with what He has (listed in Galatians 5:22-23).

So I show Him my sadness and I show it to others. It doesn’t make sense to me, but sowing tears works. My heart is hurt. But at the same time, I am the most joyful I’ve ever been. It’s the strangest thing in the world. I fluctuate between sadness and being filled with hope for no physical reason. I can’t point to any one thing and say, “That made me joyful.”

I can’t know why my friend passed away while she was so young. But, I do know my God is good, and He knows. That’s good enough for me. He made her whole, and He’s willing to do the same for me when I show Him the deepest, darkest parts of my heart. There is a transaction—giving pain to gain joy. And now that I have, I can proudly echo Psalm 30:11:

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” (NIV)

Copyright © 2016 Sarah Limardo. Used by permission.

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