Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
This is a beautiful passage from the Bible which is justifiably famous.
I always saw this verse for its comfort, but one day suddenly realized that 'continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing'--isn't exactly what you expect a weeping person to be doing. You want to be alone at home, preferably in your own room, with plenty of tissue and water, and maybe some melancholic background music for ambience; or walking aimlessly in the rain (if you've been watching too many movies.)
The verse depicts the farmer who has to sow to live. It is a necessity to go out sowing--not only because it benefits others, but for his own survival in the long run.
This reminded me of a passage in one of my favourite books, and my favourite romance; Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. (Which, with its politics and social issues and philosophy, is not exactly your typical romance, though John Thornton is/ought to be up there alongside with all the other famous Byronic, broody fictional heroes like Edward Rochester and Fitzwilliam Darcy--the Collin Firth interpretation, that is.) I admit that I did watch the BBC adaptation before I actually read the book; but Richard Armitage aside, I genuinely love the book for a whole lot of reasons; and a main one is the character of Margaret Hale, who proves herself a resilient, courageous, self-sacrificial if very human and flawed heroine; and is one of my most deeply admired female protagonists. Let me try not to become incoherent here, and if I relapse into raving you have my permission to tell me off.
At any rate, Margaret goes through some horrible experiences, one of which is the sudden relapse and death of her mother. Her brother Frederick--who has been wrongly accused of mutiny, and cannot return to England on pain of death--manages to come secretly back for the funeral, and when Margaret finally breaks down under the pressure of supporting her father and bearing her own grief, encourages her:
"Come, come, come! Let us go upstairs, and do something, rather than waste time that may be so precious. Thinking has, many a time, made me sad, darling; but doing never did in all my life. My theory is a sort of parody on the maxim of 'Get money, my son--honestly, if you can; but get money.' My precept is, 'Do something, my sister--do good if you can; but at any rate, so something.'"
Life must go on. It sounds callous sometimes, and is callous if you disregard the fact that one must first of all confront grief, allow oneself to grieve instead of repressing or denying it...as an introvert, I'm the last person to advocate not having time alone, or a space of quiet. I remember funerals becoming terrible, traumatic events if I did not first have some time to myself to grieve, before I had to be plunged into all the activity of the living commemorating the dead--itself a natural part of the process, but secondary.
From a Christian's point of view, sowing can be seen as continuing to actively trust God--whether this means in service, in perseverance of prayer or the fight against sin, or simply continuing faithfully in one's duties. Somehow, the image of the farmer, going faithfully out into his field to sow his seeds even as he is weeping, even as the tears run down his face and he chokes back sobs, is very poignant to me; and I know that my sense of pity and empathy is nothing compared to God's.
And God's encouragement to us is that this weeping farmer will 'reap in joy,' come back carrying the fruits of his labour and trust, radiant with fulfilled hope; 'rejoicing.'
These seeds are so much more than just 'character training,' or therapy to help distract us from our feelings; more than just 'going on;' they are necessary; they are part of the joy to come that God promises us.
How beautiful is that?
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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