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! (Psalm 126:4-6)
Most of us would think of a "circumstance" as something that at least modifies or perhaps influences what will happen in the end - what the outcome of a particular situation or occurrence will be. When we have the right one in charge of the "circumstances", there is no "modifier" beyond our ability or capability! Do you know what a drought is? In the simplest sense, it is a period of "extreme dryness". Most "dry spells" are not a matter of our doing. They are "circumstances" beyond our control - because none of us controls the weather. In the times of spiritual "dryness" there is much at work attempting to modify our responses in life - perhaps even shaping our outcome, as a result. In the time of spiritual dryness we have a couple of options: 1) Scheme our way through it, figuring and recalculating a way to bring life back ourselves; 2) Bolt, looking for refreshment in any other place than where we are at; or 3) Hunker down, trusting God for the refreshing rains that are just around the corner. I don't know about you, but I don't want the circumstances to modify my life by driving me away from what God will do "in" them! I want God to drive me "into" the circumstances deep enough to allow HIM to modify me, not just the circumstances! We oftentimes pray for the circumstance to be 'modified', but the real modification needs to come within US.
It is indeed God who changes our circumstances for the better. I have come to recognize that God often changes US before he changes our circumstances. In respect to the "modifying" of circumstances - it is really not the circumstances that truly "modify" us, but finding God in the midst of them does! David points out a couple of character traits of one who is not modified by the circumstances, but is met in the midst of the circumstances by the "Modifier" of our hearts. First, they are not just hunkered down, hoping for the best, trembling in the trenches of life. They are planting, carrying seed, going about their regular tasks. They don't cease to do what they know to do! Too many times, we face circumstances which seem beyond our control with the attitude of just standing still - there we are, standing there, not even doing what we know to do. God's advice to us - do what you can, then let him take care of the rest. If I am capable of putting my hand to the plow, I need to plow. If I have seed, I need to sow it. The principle is quite plain here - do what we know to do, then trust God!
We also need to be honest with and about our emotions. Most don't plant with tears, but it may be these very tears that are the first "moisture" to touch those tiny seeds. Did you ever stop to consider the tears you shed as being the very thing that waters the very tiny seed you are planting? It may not be a significant amount of moisture to you, but perhaps it is enough to begin to breakdown the tough outer coating of the seed and cause it to begin to germinate! I don't think God ever expects us to mask our emotions - if we are honest with him in our emotions, he can deal with them! Those who 'go out' will return. Their return is not empty-handed, but with much more than they ever imagined. This is the principle of sowing and reaping. In due season, there is a harvest. When we trust God with our "circumstances", we also trust him with the "outcome" (and the "INcome"). It was not the circumstances that modified us - it was the great "MODIFIER" of the circumstances that brought forth the modification that was most needed. The harvest may not have been possible without us first going out - doing what we knew to do. The seed spread in drought is there when the rains come. Think about it - if the seed is never planted, no amount of rain will produce a crop! Instead of allowing the circumstances to modify us, allow the modifying to come from the one who hold the circumstances squarely in his hand! Just sayin!