I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of joy I want to have in the presence of God – “the joy of harvest.” But, what exactly is the joy of harvest? It is a joy that comes from resurrection. It is not a joy that comes from getting something new. It is the tremendous satisfaction in seeing those things that have been buried come bursting from the ground. It is seeing dead things rise. There is no other joy that can compare to that reality.
It means more than just being lifted from my problems. You see, being lifted from the miry clay or rescued from the pit is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. The best thing would be discovering gold in the miry clay or oil in the bottom of the pit. Likewise, to be delivered from my past is good, but to have my past redeemed and be able to say, “It was good for me that I have been afflicted” is even better.
When I think of all that Job lost and had restored I don’t think that his was a complete compensation. Sure, he was healed from his disease. His home and lands and flocks and family was restored. It was joy, but it wasn’t a harvest of joy because it didn’t say why there had been the years of famine. It couldn’t give back the time that was lost. It didn’t explain why the night of his soul had come. You may say, “The night is long gone, the day is at hand and everything is now fine and well” but that’s not enough. I want to know – to be able to hear the songs in the night for myself. I want to find that I haven’t been wasting my time. I want to be assured that the time I spent in the desert brought me that many days closer to the promised land. I want the joy that comes from the harvest of buried seed, for that is the joy that is found in the harvest.
The Bible says that Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” – those that were dead and buried. He alone can retrieve my yesterday. Some may offer new gardens, but only He remembers the treasure that was hidden beneath the old ground. Only Jesus can give me back my past, restore the wastelands of my heart and teach me to walk a road I believed impassable. Christ alone can show me the angel sitting on the tombstone of my buried life, reveal to me the truth that the One I wrestled at Peniel was from Heaven or let me see the beauty that hovered over my pillow of stone. It is only He who can show me that there was manna in my desert that was better than anything Canaan had to offer. It is only then that there will be in my heart a resurrection, a harvest of joy as my buried past is gathered together. That’s when my heart will be lifted and satisfied as I see that my soul’s travail was indeed autumn’s gain. I view my beautiful mountain from the vantage point of my previous valley. For, you see, the joy of the harvest is really the joy of redeeming love.