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.
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. Psalm 30:1-5
Forget Sasquatch, The Loch Ness Monster, or The Chupacabra. These legends that get talked about, yet seldom seen, aren't the rarest sight known to man. That award resides for the elusive person who had a great middle school experience. I have yet to meet anyone who reflects on those awkward years of adolescence and says, "Man, those were the best!"
Quite the contrary, most times when people speak about middle school they wince and bring up struggles with insecurity, friendships, finding their identity, and dealing with bullies. Paige, my youngest daughter, just entered sixth grade, and her year hasn't got off to a stellar start. Far from it.
I won't go into the details but I will let you know that anxiety and fear have her in their grips. She's restless because nightmares are routine. It breaks my heart watching her struggle and in pain. As I try to comfort her, I often catch myself instinctively saying, "Get some sleep. You'll feel better in the morning."
At first glance, my words of wisdom appear to be sound advice. Being sleep deprived wrecks havoc on our mind and body. A new day brings with it a fresh perspective and allows us to hit the reset button on our emotions. My words also seem to be backed up by today's scripture which states that even though weeping may last through the night joy comes when......IN THE MORNING.
But, what if that morning doesn't come tomorrow? Yes, I get that we will greet a new day as soon as the sun peeks out from the darkness. But, what if the next morning doesn't bring with it joy? Does that mean God isn't faithful or that He sold us a broken bag of goods? Or, is there more to this promise then we understand?
God's promise isn't a quick fix. It doesn't mean that we'll place our head on the pillow and in a few hours when we're wiping away our eye boogers that our troubling circumstances will have magically changed or disappeared. His promise goes much deeper than us just "sleeping on it."
Light will win over darkness. Sadness will get replaced with joy. Hope will spring up. Difficulty will give way to determination. This is certain and true, but this shift happens on God's timeline and not ours.
Paige will catch a few hours of shuteye in a sleeping bag next to my side of the bed tonight. And, chances are good, that the situation she faces won't look much different when she awakes. Rarely do our circumstances change overnight. The same holds true for our heart, character, and faith. Transformation takes place over time. Joy comes to us gradually and not in one fell swoop.
Keeping our eyes focused on Him allows little bits of light to break through night's stronghold. With perseverance and determination, we fight against the darkness by keeping watch. We resist giving up. And with every inch of light that gains ground, we can greet each day with joy and fresh hope in Him, knowing we aren't alone.
Where do you need to trust that "joy comes in the morning?" What would it look like to have joy in the circumstances you face?
God, remind me that Your light guides my steps. When I stumble in the darkness You hold me up. May I never doubt that joy will one day come and that You use everything for my good. I desire for this perspective to shape the way I view and respond to my circumstances. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.