Sowing in Tears

February 10, 2017

“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”  (Psalm 126:5-6)

The ancient inspired hymn writer is describing a father who is sowing seeds his family desperately needs because they are hungry.  As a provider he knows that if he does not plant these seeds, there will be no food for them and they will starve to death.  He therefore sows these precious seeds with tears streaming down his face.

The Holy Spirit leads the author to a beautiful application after he paints this solemn picture for us: sometimes when we are suffering to the point of tears, those tears are precious seeds our heavenly Father is sowing in the soil of our suffering.  When that is the case, we will doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing the fruitful results of our suffering with us.

This is a truth that is often shared in the Bible.  Sometimes suffering is not the setback it appears to be.  It is rather the cutback of our Heavenly Father who is like a divine vineyard keeper.  He cuts us back to increase the quality and the quantity of the fruit our life is yielding for Him.

I sometimes think God is more real and works more effectively in the lives of people in waiting rooms outside the operating theaters of our hospitals than He does in the sanctuaries of our churches.  God does not waste our sorrows and we should not waste them either.

Listen to the wisdom of the hymn writer when he tells us our tears are precious seeds that will ultimately rejoice our hearts.

Dick Woodward, 15 February 2013


Seeds of Suffering

July 19, 2016

“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”  (Psalm 126:5-6)

The ancient inspired hymn writer is describing a father who is sowing seeds his family desperately needs because they are hungry.  As a provider he knows that if he does not plant these seeds, there will be no food for them and they will starve to death.  He therefore sows these precious seeds with tears streaming down his face.

The Holy Spirit leads the author to a beautiful application after he paints this solemn picture for us: sometimes when we are suffering to the point of tears, those tears are precious seeds our heavenly Father is sowing in the soil of our suffering.  When that is the case, we will doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing the fruitful results of our suffering with us.

This is a truth that is often shared in the Bible.  Sometimes suffering is not the setback it appears to be.  It is rather the cutback of our Heavenly Father who is like a divine vineyard keeper.  He cuts us back to increase the quality and the quantity of the fruit our life is yielding for Him.

I sometimes think God is more real and works more effectively in the lives of people in waiting rooms outside the operating theaters of our hospitals than He does in the sanctuaries of our churches.  God does not waste our sorrows and we should not waste them either.

Listen to the wisdom of the hymn writer when he tells us our tears are precious seeds that will ultimately rejoice our hearts.

Dick Woodward, 15 February 2013


Ministering Comfort

January 15, 2016

“…  who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2Corinthians 1:4)

They say an evangelist is “one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is.”  Paul is telling us in this Scripture passage that a minister of comfort is “one hurting heart telling another hurting heart where the Comfort is.” According to Paul, every time you enter into a deeper level of suffering God gives you a diploma you can frame and hang on your wall of credentials.

Captured during the Vietnam War, Jeremiah Denton spent 7 years of solitary confinement in Hanoi.  Alone in that cell he made an amazing discovery: God was there and God Himself comforted him.  Have you entered into a level of suffering that was deep enough for you to make that same discovery?  If you have, then you are a qualified minister of comfort and you can tell other hurting hearts where the Comfort is.

As a pastor for just under six decades I have made a discovery.  The best one to comfort a parent who has lost a child is a parent who has lost a child; and the best one to comfort the person who has lost a spouse is someone who has lost a spouse – when those who have suffered these losses have been comforted by God Himself.  The same is true for women who have had mastectomies, those who are going through divorce, battling cancer and every other shade and grade of suffering.

When God Himself has comforted you in your deepest levels of suffering are you willing to reach outside yourself and become a qualified minister of comfort?

Dick Woodward, 17 June 2010


Two-Dimensional Dragonfly Faith

March 13, 2015

“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God … eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)

A dragonfly is a marvel of aerodynamics with two sets of wings that enable it to hover like a helicopter.  A dragonfly actually spends the first to fourth years of its existence at the bottom of a body of water.  This underwater creature is equipped with two respiratory systems: one that enables it to inhale water through its long narrow body and derive oxygen from the water, as many underwater creatures do; and the second system that one day will equip a dragonfly to breathe air when it enters into its second dimension of life.

When the underwater, first existence of the dragonfly has been fulfilled, it rises to the surface of the water, climbs up on the land, dries its wings in the sun, spreads those two magnificent sets of wings and gloriously begins the second dimension of its existence.

The dragonfly is designed by God to live out its existence in two dimensions. We have that in common with the dragonfly.  According to Paul, we, also, are designed by God to exist in two dimensions. God issues us an earthly body to live out our life here on earth, and God is going to issue us a heavenly body that will equip us to live forever in the second, eternal dimension of our providentially planned existence in heaven.

This is why Paul writes these profoundly devotional verses in chapter 4 of Second Corinthians telling us that we should welcome, accept and embrace anything that grows our eternal inward self, preparing us for heaven.

Dick Woodward, 11 October 2011


Seeds of Suffering

February 15, 2013

“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”  (Psalm 126:5-6)

The ancient inspired hymn writer is describing a father who is sowing seeds his family desperately needs because they are hungry.  As a provider he knows that if he does not plant these seeds, there will be no food for them and they will starve to death.  He therefore sows these precious seeds with tears streaming down his face.

The Holy Spirit leads the author to a beautiful application after he paints this solemn picture for us: sometimes when we are suffering to the point of tears, those tears are precious seeds our heavenly Father is sowing in the soil of our suffering.  When that is the case, we will doubtless come again rejoicing and bringing the fruitful results of our suffering with us.

This is a truth that is often shared in the Bible.  Sometimes suffering is not the setback it appears to be.  It is rather the cutback of our heavenly Father who is like a divine Vineyard keeper.  He cuts us back to increase the quality and the quantity of the fruit our life is yielding for Him.

I sometimes think God is more real and works more effectively in the lives of people while they are in the waiting rooms outside the operating theaters of our hospitals than He does in the sanctuaries of our churches.  God does not waste our sorrows and we should not waste them either.

Listen to the wisdom of the hymn writer when he tells us our tears are precious seeds that will ultimately rejoice our hearts.


A Perspective for a Hurting Heart

March 10, 2012

“… who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  (2 Corinthians 1:4)

The Apostle Paul has just experienced life threatening persecution when he was stoned in Lystra.  As he describes that experience for the Church in Corinth he gives them (and us) a perspective on suffering.  He writes that there is a kind of suffering that drives us to God and there is a quality of comfort that can only be found in God when the level of our suffering drives us to Him.

According to Paul, an evangelist is “one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is.”  A hurting heart that has discovered the comfort that can only be found in God is “one hurting heart telling another hurting heart where the Comfort is.”

As a pastor when I met grief stricken parents who had lost a child, since I had never suffered that loss I sent a couple to comfort them who had lost a child and found the comfort of God to help them.  Any time your heart is hurting because God has permitted you to suffer, realize that you are being given a credential by God.  As you find the comfort that is to be found in God you are now qualified to point any person with that same problem to the comfort you discovered when you had that hurt in your heart.

Although you will not answer all of the “why” questions until you know as you are known, are you willing to let this perspective bring some meaning and purpose to your suffering?

Or would you rather choose to waste your sorrows?