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Psalm 126 (CEB)

When the Lord changed Zion’s circumstances for the better,
    it was like we had been dreaming.
Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter;
    our tongues were filled with joyful shouts.
It was even said, at that time, among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them!”
Yes, the Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are overjoyed.

Lord, change our circumstances for the better,
    like dry streams in the desert waste!
Let those who plant with tears
    reap the harvest with joyful shouts.
Let those who go out,
    crying and carrying their seed,
    come home with joyful shouts,
    carrying bales of grain!


“Lord, change our circumstances for the better…” You would have thought this Psalm was written yesterday. This feels like the cry of 2020.

We have seen in the world, our community and in our very own personal lives, times when God’s joy seems to saturate our being. It’s a phone call about the birth of a baby, it’s barbecues on summer days filled with roaring belly laughter, it’s those times when God’s love and embrace just seems to fit so nicely into where we are.

Unfortunately, those moments don’t last forever. Bad news comes. Plans are canceled without knowing when they can be rescheduled for. That feeling of being embraced by God’s goodness can feel distant.

“Lord, change our circumstances for the better…”

We know and have seen, in some way or another, the joy that is being expressed in the first half of this Psalm. We also know, though we may sometimes need reminding, that it’s a God of joy that has created us to experience dreams and laughter and joyful shouts. So when we are in the desert waste, we can also find hope in knowing that that’s not what God wants for us. We can dig into the earth God has created and offer those tears back to it, so that joy can grow again.

By Rachel Callender

For Pondering & Prayer

Have you ever heard a really funny joke and instantly want to tell it to someone else? Whatever brings you joy today, respond in the same way. Jump at the chance of sharing it with someone else.

Prayer: Loving God, we give thanks that in your creation you shared joy with us. You saw how wonderful relationship and generosity and hope can be so you created us to share in it with you. May we remember that on that days when we don’t feel joyful. Amen.