When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
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.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.

It is a heart-wrenching psalm–the speaker is obviously a farmer who is struggling to make ends meet. Every year, the harvest is iffy and year after year he barely makes it.  One thing he must do, though, is save the seed barley or wheat.  He can eat some of his crop, but he dare not eat all of it–or he will not have anything to plant next year. Perhaps his children are hungry, some even may die. But he holds on to the seed, to the dream. He must. Or the dream dies.

So the farmer suffers, watches his family suffer, but he holds on to the seed. Waiting. Watching. Hoping. Believing.

And then, finally, it is spring! Water fills the Negev and Palestinian hills with fresh, new, vigorous growth.  The wait is over!

Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.

Then with tears of joy, of remembrance, and of hope, the farmer plants again! He suffers in the winter because he believes in the harvest. Those who sow with tears . . .

This Thanksgiving season we are still waiting. Waiting for that long-delayed but inevitable harvest that surely will come soon. We must just keep working hard, holding the seed in our hand until that time of bountiful blessing comes, until our Lord comes!


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