Have you ever been in a situation that seemed to have no end, one in which you simply could not see how it could ever be resolved in your favor? I think that in this microwave society that we live in today, we want everything, including our problems, to be resolved quickly and completely. And when they are not, it becomes easy to lose our faith and feel hopeless.
But, the good news is that although troubles can last a long time, they never last always. The psalm for this week, Psalm 30, leaves us with the calm assurance that the difficulties and struggles of life are only temporary, and that morning, symbolically a new beginning, always come, and when it does, it will be a time of joyful celebration.
The knowledge of the saving grace of God displayed in this psalm did not come from what David heard from other people or read. He makes a great witness, because across the span of his life, from a shepherd boy to a king, he experienced the favor, forgiveness, and fellowship of God. Psalm 30 is a psalm of thanksgiving and joy.
Psalm 30: 1-3 I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death.
In this psalm, David, in humble appreciation, tells God that he will exalt him, acknowledging that the victories in his life were because of God’s intervention, and not because of anything that David did. He tells us that it was God who rescued him from all of his enemies, restored his health, and saved him from the pit of death.
These are still the kinds of troubles we experience today, for we still sometimes have to be saved from negative people in our lives who try to destroy us or our reputations, and we still deal with situations and illnesses that often impact our health and threaten our very existence in the land of the living. Contrary to what some people believe and even teach and preach, troubles are not relegated only to unbelievers and wicked people. Indeed, Matthew 5:45 reminds us that God gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and that He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. This psalm proves that God’s people are not exempt from the troubles of this life.
Psalm 30: 4-5 Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
David tells us to sing praises to the Lord even in our difficulties, for God will eventually show us His favor, and a change will occur in our situations. David reminds us that weeping, or crying, is only temporary. So often, we equate Christians who cry with lack of faith or weakness.
We particular teach boys and men not to cry, but we give women the freedom to do so, and we wonder why women outlive their men. God gave all of us, males and females, crying as a coping mechanism for when life’s trials threaten our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Tears are meant to release the strain and stress that accompany so many of our troubles. Thank God for tears!
My brothers and sisters, David assures us that it’s okay to weep, for weeping will only last through the night, and the tears will end when morning comes. When David speaks of night and morning, he does not mean a mere 24-hour time period. David knew that troubles most often last longer than one day. In this instance, David is speaking of a discernible space of time between night and morning.
In many of the biblical stories in the Old and New Testaments, the span from the beginning of the problem to the end was measured in years, not days. For instance, in Luke 8:43-48 is the story of a woman whose night lasted for 12 long years before morning came when she touched Jesus’s garment and was healed immediately. Likewise, in John 5:1-9, we read of a man whose night lasted a whopping 38 years before morning came with Jesus’s appearance and His command for the man to stand up, pick up his mat, and walk. In the Old Testament, remember that the children of Israel were in the wilderness for 40 years before morning came and Joshua led them into the Promised Land.
It is the same with us today. Some problems simply last longer than others, but rarely are serious problems resolved overnight. In my own life, I have had troubles last for years, only to have morning come in the most unexpected ways. David reminds us to keep holding on and to not lose our faith when trials seem to never end, for morning always comes. It is part of the order of the universe, and the good news is that with each morning comes new and tender mercies, for great is God’s faithfulness to us.
Lastly, verse 5 teaches us that when morning comes, it is a time of joy. Joy is a by-product of life in Christ Jesus, as it is one of the nine fruit of the Spirit. In Nehemiah 8:10, Nehemiah reminded the former exiled Jews that the joy of the Lord was their strength. Joy is different from happiness, for it begins deeper in our hearts and it is less fleeting than happiness, so it isn’t as transitory as happiness. Psalm 126:5-6 states, “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.”
Psalm 30: 6-10 “When I was prosperous, I said, ‘Nothing can stop me now!’ Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain. Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered. I cried out to you, O Lord. I begged the Lord for mercy, saying, ‘What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness? Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me. Help me, O Lord.”
In this section, David reminds us that when life is going well, we boast of God’s goodness and faithfulness, for He makes us feel secure and safe. But then, when trials come, we often question why it is happening to us, pleading for mercy and help, questioning the One who brought us through so many other trials.
It can feel like we are dying inside when physical, mental, or spiritual sicknesses envelop our lives. Yet, that is the time when we should be calling on the Lord, praising Him anyhow, and trusting with our whole being that He will come through for us once again. I remember crying and asking God, “Why me?” when I was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008. Then, a very wise woman asked me, “Why not you? Are you better than anybody else?”
And when I remembered the children at St. Jude’s Hospital, I stopped my pity party, and simply asked God to use the cancer to bring Him glory someday. Yes, troubles hurt and they can bring us to our knees, but we have a God that can do the impossible. In Jeremiah 32: 37, God said, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” The answer is, of course, a resounding “NO!”
Psalm 30:11-12 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!
David tell us that joyful mornings are times of celebration with overt expressions of joy. Of course, David knew about dancing as an expression of thankfulness and joy. In 2 Samuel 6, David was leaping and dancing so much that his wife, Michal, was disgusted by it. But David told her in verses 21-22, “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family. He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes!” David understood that when morning comes with joy, there should be an outward sign to others that you truly feel the joy of the Lord.
This psalm is as relevant today as it was in David’s time. Today we are experiencing some long nights of the soul, nationally and globally, with much to weep about. We weep for people who have lost everything in natural disasters. We weep for the lives lost and destroyed in the continued mass shootings in our nation. We weep as the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. We weep for the many women and men who are beaten and battered, and we weep for mothers and fathers who work 40 hours a week each, but still find themselves and their children living in their cars.
We weep for the unimaginable numbers of people incarcerated in America’s prisons, and we weep as a nation divided along ideological lines, seemingly unable to see what unites us rather than what divides us. Lastly, we weep for the lost and hurting people who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
But unlike unbelievers, we do not grieve as people without any hope. While we are still in the land of the living, let us heed David’s lessons on how to deal with the trials and tribulations of this world. We all struggle over different troubles and situations, and if you have never experienced a long night of the soul, then keep on living, for none of us gets out of this life without some pain and suffering. But, praise be to God, there always comes a day when the suffering will be over and our change will come, a change that only God can orchestrate.
So, I pray that whatever your night is, that when morning comes for you, and it will, that you will lift your hands towards heaven, and sing out loud and strong a song of celebration and thanksgiving to our God, glorifying Him and acknowledging Him for all that He has done, continues to do, and will do in the future. And, just maybe, you will be like David and dance, unashamedly and joyfully, for whom the Son has set free is free indeed.
Dear Heavenly Father,
To You we offer honor, dominion, and love. Thank You for mornings that always come. I know that sometimes it takes a while for change to come, but thank You that somehow we can know that You are working it out in our favor. I don’t know how you will do it, and I don’t know when you will do it, but I know that a change will come. And, Lord, I will dance, yes, I will dance for my King! In Jesus’s Name, Amen.