The first casualties of upheaval can be love, kindness, and patience. But crisis is also a moment when love for God & one another can spring up. For 150 days, starting on 17th March 2020, I will write 300 words based on one of the 150 psalms in the bible. How can I find and give love in the midst of coronavirus?
It’s gruelling, it’s gritty – but an amazing story. Slumdog Millionaire, set in India, was a huge hit, winning 8 Oscars.
However, it has one feature that in the past would have put me off – it keeps jumping around in time. To be technical, its story-telling is ‘non-linear’. It starts in the present, then goes to the past, then back to the present, then a different past, then a different present….and so on. (It does finally all come together).
Whenever I read Psalm 126, it feels the wrong way around. Topsy turvy. The beginning seems like it should be at the end. Why? Well have a read:
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. 2 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.’ 3 The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. 5 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. 6 Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.
The Psalm doesn’t specify which point in Israel’s (Zion’s) history it is describing. But there are so many points when the nation has been in trouble and God has come and restored their fortunes. It could be any of these.
However, the tears & the weeping are in part 2 – and I think they should be in part 1. Why? Because that is the experience of so many of us. When we’ve reached a point of despair, of desperation, of loss, of grief, of failure, of loneliness – and we are weeping – this is what comes first.
But, and it’s a big but, if we are walking with God – we so often then come to a point of restoration – the point when God steps in and restores our fortunes. It may not be to take us back where we came from, it may not be possible to make everything all right – but we can say that God has stepped in and done something. We went out weeping, but we carried on – we didn’t give up (“carrying seed to sow”) and then God answered, He worked, He brought restoration – and joy came. This is the promise of this Psalm.
So, if you are weeping – keep going – God is in the business of restoration.
May you know His comfort, strength and restoration today.