There is no crown without a cross, no success without sorrow, no triumph without trial.
The temporal can often seem eternal. Difficult days appear to never end. But those days, heavy though they are, will one day end and will pave the road to rejoicing.
The Israelites once received great blessings. They were made into a people, given land, and cared for by their God. But as faithful as Jehovah was to them, they were equally faithless. They pursued alliances with foreign adversaries, praised foreign idols, and proclaimed their own greatness.
God promised and delivered judgment. For their pride the Israelites earned the destruction and desolation of their homeland, followed by seventy years of service to the Babylonians. These lonely, difficult years humbled the people and cleansed Israel of their overt idolatry.
The Psalmist, reflected upon the difficulty of captivity and the deliverance of the Creator.
“When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad” (Psalm 126:1-3).
It seemed impossible, but their dreams came true. Laughter replaced tears. Shouts of despair that once filled the air turned into joy.
The Psalmist attributes these renewed blessings to what they had endured.
“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” (Psalm 126:5, 6).
In this fallen world, sorrow is inevitable. Pain and hardship are unavoidable. Loss is ever near us. Unless the Lord hastens his coming, all who are living will die (Hebrews 9:27).
Persecution is a feature of Christianity. All our brothers and sisters who came before us lived through physical and emotional maltreatment. The kingdom is enriched by those who enter through tribulation (see Acts 14:22), and all who live a Christ-like life will suffer (2 Timothy 3:12).
But take heart, my fellow pilgrims, the sorrow experienced today will one day be replaced. We sow in tears but we will reap with shouts of joy. For those who endure the reproaches of Christ will one day reign with him (2 Timothy 2:12), and those who suffer with him will one day be glorified with him (Romans 8:17).
Each day here brings us that much closer to glory.