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Joy in the Morning

For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

In Psalm 30, as in so many other psalms, David promises to praise the Lord. He had experienced a great deliverance and was thankful. He cried unto heaven and the Lord heard him, bringing his soul back from the grave. Thus he exclaims that he will "Sing unto the Lord . . .for His anger endureth but a moment." This thought is reinforced by the delightful expression, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).

How often we have experienced the truth of this verse! Heavy trials weigh us down as we pillow our heads at night. Our minds seem unable to bear the pressure. Restlessly we toss and turn, but our body refuses to rest. We are miserable and feel helpless. Finally sleep comes, but only after hours of restlessness.

The Christian life is filled with the interchanges of sickness and health, weakness and strength, disgrace and honor, want and wealth. Sometimes we enjoy the comfort of being one of God's own; other times we bear the cross of that same privilege. On occasion the south winds of God's mercy blow over our lives; on other occasions blow the north winds of adversity. Nonetheless, when the nipping north winds of calamity chill our nights and cause us to be restless, we may rest in the promise of God that "weeping may endure [only] for a night." God always places a time limit on the suffering and restlessness of His children.

After such a night of struggle, we frequently awake with a vague sense of what transpired the night before. As we gather our thoughts, we wonder why it was so difficult for us to fall asleep. Why were we so helpless and despairing? Things do not look as impossible as they once did. What is it that makes the difference? It is the joy that comes in the morning when we cast our care upon the Lord, knowing that He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7; cf. Job 33:26; Isaiah 26:20; 54:7).

Not only are the trials of the night temporary; they are gifts from God as well. We cannot deny that Christians are often called to endure soul-shaking experiences. In the Christian life there is weeping, and sometimes plenty of it. The nights of adversity are long and frequent. But God never allows them to be endless or without cause.

The cupola of St. Paul's Cathedral in London was painted by Sir James Thornhill. It was necessary for Sir James to complete his work while standing on a swinging scaffold high above the pavement. One day when he had finished a particularly difficult portion with painstaking effort, he stopped to inspect his artistry. As a good artist does, slowly he began moving backwards in order to gain a more appropriate view of his work. A helper working with him suddenly recognized that if Sir James should take one step farther backward, he would be killed in a fatal fall. The man knew that if he startled the man with a shout, it might topple him from the scaffold. As quickly as possible, he grabbed a brush and made a sweeping stroke across the exquisite work that Sir James was admiring. Understandably disturbed, the artist rushed forward with a cry of dismay. When his companion explained why he had taken this drastic measure, Sir James Thornhill burst into tears of gratitude.

We may be sure that no physician ever weighed out medicine to his patients with half as much care and exactness as God weighs out the trials of a sleepless night to us. Perhaps the dawning light of relief seems far away to you, but remember, morning will come, and with it God's promised joy. You have God's Word on it.

MORNING HYMN Does Jesus care when my heart is pained Too deeply for mirth and song, As the burdens press, and the cares distress, And the day grows weary and long? O yes, He cares; I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief; When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Saviour cares.

Devotional is used with permission from the author. It may be used solely for personal, noncommercial, and informational purposes. Republication or redistribution of this devotional is prohibited.

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