Monday, November 15, 2010

"Those Who Dream: Restoration" - My Article in the Southside Messenger

Spirit & Truth # 202
“Those Who Dream:  Restoration”
By Rev. Greg Smith


Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
       like streams in the
 Those who sow in tears
       will reap with songs of joy.
 He who goes out weeping,
       carrying seed to sow,
       will return with songs of joy,
       carrying sheaves with him.
(Psalm 126:4-6 NIV)

 “Author Leo Buscaglia tells this story about his mother and their ‘misery dinner.’ It was the night after his father came home and said it looked as if he would have to go into bankruptcy because his partner had absconded with their firm's funds. His mother went out and sold some jewelry to buy food for a sumptuous feast. Other members of the family scolded her for it. But she told them that ‘the time for joy is now, when we need it most, not next week.’ Her courageous act rallied the family (Christopher News Notes, August, 1993).”
Psalm 126 was written as a worshipful response to God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from their captivity in Babylon.  As they returned home to Jerusalem, it seemed as though they were in a dream.  They approached God with joy and laughter, even though they didn’t know what future lay ahead of them.  They knew they faced hard work and danger in rebuilding their city.  The future was still uncertain, yet they anticipated it with joy.
Each of us goes through “captivity” times in life.  Like Israel, we endure seasons of hardship.  God’s prodigal sons and daughters wander away from His blessing, only to find ourselves desperate for Him.  And so we return, leaving captivity behind, hoping for God’s restoration.
When your future is uncertain, you can trust in the same God that Israel knew.  God sees your trouble, and God restores your fortunes.  When you return to Zion, God does not leave you standing with empty hands before His throne. If you have suffered loss, then trust the God who tells you, “I will repay the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 1:4; 2:25).”  Like streams in the desert, like water from a rock, God brings a flow of blessing back to His people who trust Him. 
What have you lost in life?  Has your depth of spirituality suffered because of hardships you’ve endured?  Have you gone through financial trouble, or medical hardships, or difficult relationships?  When you pray, God restores.  Prayer is like sowing seeds into God’s fertile ground.  You may be sowing seeds of any kind—repentance, righteousness, relationship, requests—and your prayer may require many tears.  But watered by your tears, your prayers will germinate and grow, and spring up to new life in God’s due season.  You’ll be able to return with songs of joy.  You’ll be able to see the fruit of your labor in prayer, carrying your sheaves with you.

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