COLLINS COLUMN: Pray. Sow. Reap.

Published 9:00 am Saturday, July 6, 2024

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Sometimes, the best way to face your current struggles is to take a moment to review the outcomes of your former struggles. The first assurance we might note is that if we are facing a problem today, then somehow, we were brought through the problems and challenges we had in the past.

In some way, Psalm 126 is a psalm that helps us face today’s problems along with our future problems by remembering God’s faithfulness in yesterday’s challenges. Many scholars believe that the first three verses of this psalm refer to the time when God brought his children out of exile in Babylon and back to Jerusalem. The exile lasted 70 years. I don’t know how long you have been experiencing your challenges, but I am guessing it is less than 70 years!

Imagine then what the Jewish people of Israel felt when they found themselves back in their homeland. It would likely be just as the psalmist described, like a dream. Sometimes when the breakthrough happens, we don’t actually realize it or know the joy that will come as our new reality sets in. However, when it does set in, a normal and healthy reaction would be just as the psalm suggests: mouths filled with laughter, and shouts of joy rolling off our tongues!

The order of events in the first three verses of this psalm is interesting. The suggestion is that the surrounding nations realized that the Lord had done great things for his people before God’s people recognized what God had done. I think it may often be that way.

Over many decades, I have faced huge challenges leading people in various organizations. And for many of those same decades I have always sought out prayer warriors to pray for me and for deliverance from many problems. More often than not, it is my friends and prayer warriors who see what God did before I fully realize it myself. One reason is because I am usually at the tip of the spear and deeply involved in trying to find a solution. Those who stand beside me and around me in prayer are usually more objective and can see things that I am either too tired or too involved in to actually see the victory.

Psalm 126 has two main sections: verses 1-3 and verses 4-6. The first outlines God’s deliverance in the past, and the second offers a prayer and hope for the present. It would seem that when we are facing current dilemmas, we would do well if we reminded ourselves of past victories before we face the present ones. I think our confidence in God’s faithfulness in the past will bring hope and confidence to our prayers for the present and for our futures.

Verses 4-6 offer us a guide for facing today’s challenges:

1. Pray. The psalmist prayed that God would restore that which was broken and empty.
2. Sow. Go ahead and do the hard work of sowing prayers and digging into the hard soil of your problems, even weeping as you try and figure out the next step.
3. Reap. Trust in the promises of God that just as he has delivered before in situations you once thought impossible, he will do it again. And when God moves, we will one day find ourselves walking to our earthly and our eternal home, shouting and singing praises as we see the abundance of what God has provided.

Father, today we take a few minutes to look back and recall the victories you brought about in days gone by. Thank you for previous seasons of restoration. You are good and you have done great things for us! And, Father, we pray that as we face today’s problems that you restore us again. We surrender our tears and our hard work, trusting that you are faithful, and you will again bring us through our challenges and lead us into seasons of deliverance. In Jesus’ name, amen.