The Other Side of Sorrow

Are you in a season of weeping? Are the days heavy and the nights endless—joys few, yet sorrows abundant?


It is a season—a period of time. We can be assured it will not last forever. Just as winter is turned to spring, it too will change. This season is temporary. Clouds and rain will disappear, forced to give way to the sun.

But for now, it is a present reality. And it seems interminable. There is no escaping—it must be walked through. No shortcuts, only countless difficult trails. Grieving must do its work, paving the way to rejoicing. But how can we make it to the other side of sorrow?

Psalm 126 tells the story of the children of Israel who were taken into captivity because of their disobedience. They endured long years of hardship and separation from their beloved land of promise. Days were spent “sown in tears” while living in a foreign land; and in prayer, face down toward Jerusalem, they mourned and repented of their sin.

After a period of many years, they returned to their land. What had previously seemed normal and to be expected was now incredulously glorious. They were “like those in a dream” with their mouths filled with laughter and their tongues with joyful shouting.

The Lord had restored their captivity. Then they saw clearly—“The LORD has done great things for us.” They see his hand through it all and are glad. Mourning turns into dancing. Grief is changed to relief.

Surely the Lord accomplished this deliverance, but the Israelites themselves played an essential part in the drama. It was necessary to “sow in tears” in order to “reap in joyful shouting.”


And so it is with us. We walk through pain in order to get to promise. And our promise is this—that, after a season of sowing in tears, we will reap with joy. Weeping waters the land, giving rise to growth. Prayers uttered in grief fertilize the soil, adding necessary components only they can contribute.

We arrive at the other side, not by skipping grief, but by experiencing it. Expressing agitations and heartfelt angst. Directing complaints to God. Releasing emotions through groaning. Watering the ground, tending to the soil. Going to and fro with our bag of seed.

After a period of time, inexplicably, mourning gives way to morning. The sun peeks over the horizon, bringing healing in its warmth. And we know, surely, the Lord has done great things for us.

We are forever changed because of the journey through sorrow, not in spite of it.

We shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing our sheaves with us—the crop of righteousness nurtured through pain. We do not forget the sorrow; it weaves our own crown of thorns, which presses upon our heads. Gradually the pain is lessened until it is taken away.

We remember the hurt, but are led into hope.


“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6

Photo by jeka1984/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by jeka1984/iStock / Getty Images