For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5 ESV
Suffering hurts. It is heart-breaking. So often, the pain of life tends to blur the vision of the believer. We become self-focused as we try to contend with the grief of losing loved ones. We meander through the valley of the shadow of death wondering where our great and just God has gone. But we have a promise from the scripture that combats the struggle. As we walk through the pain of life, our soul aches for the relief that we have come to find only in Jesus. This is the promise of Psalm 30:5: if you and I will endure, there is a joy coming for us that cannot be stolen.
I can’t help but think about the past year as I read a verse like Psalm 30:5. So much pain with the loss of my friend, father-in-law, and pastor. He was a great man. But more than that, he was a man totally in love with his God. He truly loved Jesus. Even as I write this, I am inspired to love Jesus more because of the example I had. Jeff was a man that knew what it meant to walk in obedience to the word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. But as I admire the man that Jeff was, my mind slowly returns to the void that the “night” has brought.
“Night” is a difficult time. Darkness is the defining characteristic of the “night”; darkness that causes uncertainty. As we walk through pain, uncertainty will point you toward each and every event that seems to be in contrast to the goodness of God. Have you ever tried to walk through your house when it is completely dark? You think you know where everything is. You think that you remember the layout of the walls, the furniture, the doorways. And then, the sudden and painful reminder of a dresser, door jam, or ottoman will dispel the idea that you know exactly where you are going. The dark night of the soul tends to be the same. Life gets dark and immediately we realize that we don’t know exactly where everything is around us. We have ideas of what might be going on, how God might be working, or even how God might have forgotten us. But we don’t really know. It is night. Pain has allowed darkness to cloud our mind. But pain and weeping have a season.
The verse above says that weeping may tarry. Tarry means to linger in expectation. While weeping tarries through the night, there is an expectation of something better. I believe that this is a God-given blessing to you and me. Even in the pain and the difficulty of life, we can know that our joy is on its way. We have this promise from God. Joy is coming for the believer in Christ. Much like the disciples after the death of Jesus, we forget the promise in our time of uncertainty. While Christ was in the grave, the disciples would not believe the promise that Christ was coming back to life. They were afraid and hid. They were sad and weeped. They were doubtful and went back to their old lives. But much like the disciples, the day is coming when Jesus returns for you and me. This is our joy; Jesus calling his Church home.
Brothers and sisters, let our posture be formed by the promises of God. Joy is coming for the faithful believer in Christ. Never-ending peace, ever-increasing joy, and the love of God continually and fully poured out on us as we exist totally in His presence. It will not be from time to time; it will be constant and eternal. Joy that comes from knowing Jesus is ours now. Joy that comes after the removal of all pain, all sickness, every tear, every heavy heart, every loss is on its way. Do not lose heart. Let us walk side by side, hand in hand in the confidence of His word and His promise.