Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
She who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
Will return with songs of joy
carrying sheaves with her. (Ps. 126:4-6)
The passage starts in prayer. This is not a little prayer, it’s a request for a miracle to restore their fortunes “like streams in the Negev.” The Negev is an arid desert and the streams are miracles of life-giving. The streams and river transform the desert landscape into carpets of flowers in the springtime and life-giving irrigation and drinking water year round.
Note too that the person is crying but she doesn’t sit there and mourn. She sows anyway. And it’s hard: she goes out to do hard work — carrying seed, tilling the soil, planting, tending. She has gone out from her home. It is a hard, hard leave-taking. There is nothing earthly that she can depend on, only God and His provision.
She is also taking this seriously. It’s not a matter of sow a little here, sow a little there. Her life depends on a good crop because there is nothing else left.
And the crops grow! She doesn’t chalk it up to nature or shrug her shoulders, she sings “songs of joy” as she comes back home. This is God with us: we sow seeds with tears of hard work, uncertainty, and desperation. And because we pray we come home with abounding blessings