Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Psalm 30 (NRSV)
I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up,
and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O LORD, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O LORD,
you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
To you, O LORD, I cried,
and to the LORD I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me!
O LORD, be my helper!”
You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
“Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” At this time of the year, this declaration by the psalmist reminds me of the circumstances in which Francis Scott Key penned a poem that later became known as “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Held captive on a British ship, Key could only watch through the night as British gunboats bombarded Baltimore during the War of 1812. But his joy came with the morning light as he witnessed the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry.
Like Key and the psalmist, we may endure long nights during which we plead with God for deliverance or healing, and sometimes we wonder if God even hears our prayers. This past year I learned that the dark night can be very long, indeed, that healing may not come in a few hours but gradually, over time. When that happens we need to take our joy from small victories. Twenty-three percent improvement in lung function can be a joyous morning.
When weeping lingers for the night we sometimes wonder, “Where is God?” Psalm 30 reminds us that God is right there with us, giving us those small God-hugs to encourage us and help us hang on until morning.
Thank you, Lord, for hugging us with small victories when the dark nights come into our lives. Stay near us and help us to remain strong as we watch and wait for the morning light. Amen.
Go with God.