Today, Psalm 126 ~
Exiles Returned...but from where? At the time it was written the reference was Israel being set free from Babylonian captivity...they were finally allowed to return home to Jerusalem.
I have never been captured and hauled off to a physical land, enslaved and oppressed there. I have been in a spiritual way though.
The laughter was so refreshing when I was freed. As I began to learn to walk in my new freedom....my "after laughter" rang with appreciation and wisdom of knowing that I had not been freed by accident or in vain. I am not sure that anyone earthly noticed my return, or shouted for joy when they saw me but I sure did.
The Psalmist records a bit different situation here...those returning from captivity were a generation older. Those who had been left behind had endured 40 years of separation...40 years of longing for their friends and family members to return.
I have had personal experience of being the one left behind from the captured...left longing for my loved ones return to their proverbial home land. I endured gut wrenching sorrow watching my oldest daughter be hauled away from us spiritually. I have known no pain like it...it is indescribable. There were days that I felt like I was being suffocated in agony. The first nine months were the most difficult, and as time passed some of it did get easier. I adjusted, eventually, to the separation. I still longed and prayed and prayed and prayed, hoping for the day of days, when I would see the face that had been masked over with prodigal. Grace did not allow me to wait 40 years for her return, it was shy of 3, but it felt like forever! My "after laughter" in this situation still rings with shouts of joy! It was a dream too good to be true!
If only the story ended there--right? But no -- I still have a few exiles I am longing for. Accepting the separation, for me, does not come with out injury from wrestling. I go to the mat with God over such loss...He meets me there and gets all sweaty with me, waiting for me to surrender it to Him. Finally... I am so exhausted from keeping my shoulders off the ground....then it comes -- "pinned" -- trust surrendered.
I can't wait for "after laughter" of these particular longings...I am going to shout for joy, and my mouth will be filled with laughter!!!!