As I pray through the 126th Psalm this week for our church family, I’m struck by the contrast in this short psalm. There is the lowest of lows, and there is the highest of highs. There is weeping, and there are shouts of joy. There is the barrenness of newly planted soil with nary a green thing in sight. And there are sheaves of an abundant harvest.
I realize that both extremes are present in our church family. Most of us are somewhere between those two ends of the emotional spectrum, but some of you are in a very low point, and some of you are on a mountain top of emotional highs right now.
To those of you who are at a high point in your life, I’d like to encourage you to enjoy it while you have it. Nobody lives on the mountain top; everybody faces the valley at some point. So, enjoy the peak, but prepare yourself for the valley.
To those of you who are at a very low point right now, I would simply like to say that God is preparing you to fully enjoy the high crest of pleasure that lies in your future. I don’t know whether or not you will ever fully recover from the low valley of trial in this life. You may. You may be going through a valley that will eventually lead to the end of this life. Only God knows these things. But what I do know is that you will more than fully recover in the life to come. Your joys in this life and the next will be experienced in contrast to your sorrows in this life. You will experience the blessings of God as if they were a “stream in the Negeb.”
Let me tell you a little about these streams (see here). They come quickly, unexpectedly, and powerfully. On the eastern side of the Judean hill country heading down to the Jordan Rift where the Dead Sea lies, these springs can seemingly explode out of nowhere after a rain up in the hills. And they crash down with more force than Von Miller rushes an opposing quarterback. This past January, one of these “streams” (think “massive wall of water”) washed out a road that left us in a bit of a pickle. This is a regular occurrence in Israel. And this is what the psalmist is referring to when he asks God to restore his fortunes like one of these streams. Quickly. Unexpectedly. Powerfully.
Heaven WILL be like this. Tomorrow MAY be like this. Regardless, at some point in your future, everything you bank on now by faith will become sight. Your ship will come in. Your fortune will arrive. And you will enjoy the height of joy that the low and dry times of sorrow in this life are preparing you. There may be things you can do to prepare for this, but that is not the purpose of the blog post. I just want you to be aware that one of the purposes of life’s lows is to prepare you to fully enjoy life’s highs, whether it be this life or the life to come.
Take heart, dear friend. One day you will be able to say with more clarity, deeper conviction, and fuller joy, “The Lord has done great things for me. I am glad!”