Walking towards the Light from the cross of a King

A blog by Josh Humbert

The Sudden And Slow Work of God: Part 3


***Note: The series of posts here (“part 1, part 2,” etc) are from my category called Get In The Word. To read more like this, you can click the Get In The Word category from the drop-down menu on the right side of this page. Essentially, these posts are from my own sermon writing and preparation. My goal with this category is to help you see truth in Scripture, and to assist those who might be preparing their own sermon or study. I highly encourage each person to do their own reading, studying, and praying, but my goal is to provide a look into how I handled it and maybe spark some ideas in your work. May you benefit from this as you Get In The Word!***

Savor The Promise Of His Harvest

To close out this examination of Psalm 124, look with me to verse 5 and 6 – what a HOPE-FILLED FINISH!!!

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”

The original audience would immediately be familiar with how these lyrics of the Psalm are painting a very clear picture of a real life comparison. The picture we see now is of a long, deliberate process that takes time. This is a farmer planting seed and then finally harvesting many months down the road.

the slow process

What the Psalmist is describing is the SLOW WORK of God. This isn’t the steak quickly off the grill – it’s the BRISKET low and slow (you can read  about that here  ). He has asked for the flash flood (you can read about that here  )…. but a Harvest – – that’s a much slower process.

Now, I know that nobody really “AMENS!!” when the pastor starts talking about the slow work of God. And yet, this is how God will OFTEN work. There are the flash floods of God’s work and we celebrate that! But the longer I’m alive the more I see the slow work of God being the method He employs more often.

We are called to Sow – PLANT – INVEST our tears and time with God. If we can summarize in a phrase it would be this: Invest your tears and years with God then trust Him for a harvest.

Things That Require Tears And Years

There are many good things that require investing tears and years….

  • Building a strong marriage
  • Raising kids to fear the Lord
  • Concern for those who don’t know Jesus
  • Concern for a Christian who is far away in sin
  • Walking in humble obedience 
  • Turning from sinful habits
  • Valuing heavenly rewards over earthly gain

You can probably add much more to this list. Many of the very best things can’t be “instant.” What you will quickly see is that the world pushes you to settle for the quick-fix. The world says “Don’t you dare worry about TEARS Sow the laughter, sow the temporary happiness NOW, sow to what makes you happy NOWbut they never look at the harvest.

sowing…reaping….

Galatians 6:7 reminds us:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

Every day, every hour of our life – we are ALL investing something with someone. Invest your tears and your years with the Lord.

This isn’t some FALSE prosperity gospel – you can clearly see that. I’m not promising you that if you follow Jesus, everything goes great in your life! No, I’m saying there WILL be trouble, adversity – tears. The Bible is incredibly realistic and honest. The Christian life will have tears, but there’s amazing hope here – the rejoicing and the harvest WILL happen.

He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Some older translations include the word “DOUBTLESS” – doubtless he will come home with shouts of joy and sheaves! I like that. Spurgeon adds this comment:

Because the Lord has written ‘doubtless,’ take heed that you do not doubt. No reason for doubt can remain after the Lord has spoken.”

He’s RIGHT!

A Process of Producing

2 Corinthians 4:17 adds even more hope….

For our momentary, light affliction (the things that cause our TEARS), is producing (HARVEST) for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”

Over and over and over Scripture is telling us: There will be hard times, there will be tears. Don’t waste your tears – invest them with God. You will come home rejoicing with a harvest that will blow your mind.

trust your tears and time with God

Your tears PRODUCE the harvest. What are tears anyway? WATER – they are the water that causes the growth. Incredible isn’t it? How does it work that way? This all comes straight from the gospel of Christ.

Tim Keller summarizes it like this:

When you look at Christ, He was the man of incredible sorrows. He was in pain. He was rejected. He was tortured. He was killed. He sorrowed like no one has ever sorrowed. But His sorrows didn’t give way to joy – they produced the joy. His sorrows were the redeeming way that opened the door for the joy and the glory. His sorrows produced an eternal weight of glory for us.

Spurgeon describes it this way:

Christ, the model of the Christian life, assures you of this. He went forth weeping, sowing drops of bloody sweat, sowing with pierced hands and feet. He went forth sowing living seeds of love, and they are springing up today already in the glory and multitudes that are gathered into it. And soon, in the coming and superior splendor that shall envelop it, the Christ who sowed in tears will reap in joy. Even thus is must be with you.

A Father’s Example

Let me ground all that in a real example. What does it look like to invest tears and years with the Lord?

Here’s a pic of my dad….1975, married to mom for about a year. Dad grew up in a house with tons of money and success. My grandfather was extremely successful in rail roads – they were loaded.

My mom and dad (first two on left) about 6 years before I was born

However, to put it mildly, the house dad grew up in was filled with some really awful things. Dad experienced things no kid should have to experience. He said many nights he would cry himself to sleep.

Dad saw the HARVEST of worldly things – it had NO ANSWERS for him.

  • Investing in money didn’t guarantee a loving family.
  • Investing in success didn’t keep awful things from happening.

As a teenager, my dad gave his life to Jesus Christ at a youth camp. He married my mom, an awesome Christian woman, a few years later. Dad made the decision to invest his tears and his years with the Lord.

Years later, my brother Jake is born.Two years after that, I arrive on the scene. Then Amy, our sister comes along at some point.

Here’s what’s cool, and I’m being as truthful as I can be… Because my dad invested his tears and years with the Lord, because He sowed seeds of biblical truth in his own life….we were given the priceless gift of a loving home. My brother, sister, and me – we saw a mom and dad that served Jesus and loved each other. We saw what commitment looks like.

  • No chairs through the window and screaming fights like dad experienced.
  • No cops were ever called to our home to breakup fights like dad experienced.
  • No parents black out drunk like dad experienced.

Listen, our home wasn’t perfect – I mean besides me, JK!!!  Our home wasn’t perfect but my mom and dad gave us a home. We love each other and our home is still a FUN place to be. There’s rejoicing and there’s a harvest now. What dad never had he now gets in abundance. My dad can SAVOR THE PROMISE OF HIS HARVEST because he gets to live it out. My wife and I are doing what we can to replicate much of that with our kids.

He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Jon Foreman says it this way

Future gardens from all this rain, future flowers from present pain.

future gardens from all this rain, future flowers from present pain

Hope For The Future

I want to give you a word of encouragement here. If you have missed out on some of those things like a loving home, a Godly marriage, Godly family… just like my dad, you can invest with the Lord. Your story can change, your whole family tree can change. It can start right here with you. One life surrendered to Jesus – that’s where it turns.

You may come from heartbreak and pain, but trust your tears and years to the Lord – watch what He will do. He can bring future gardens and future flowers. Trust Him and one day you will harvest with great rejoicing.

Questions To Consider

The request for the sudden work of God (vs 4) is stated once, while the promise of God’s slow work is repeated (vs 5 and 6). What can I take away from that in my own life now?

Have I experienced deep pains and the lack of some good things in my own upbringing? Am I willing to invest my tears and years with Lord to see what He will do down the road?

Thanks for reading.  Your comments and insights are always welcomed.  If you enjoyed this, please share it.  Want more content?  Check the archives or listen to me on the Cross-Cutting Culture Podcast on iTunes.

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This entry was posted on March 4, 2021 by in Blogroll, Get In The Word and tagged , , , , , .

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