I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my foes rejoice over me. LORD my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the LORD, You saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. Now in my prosperity I said, "I shall never be moved." LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled. I cried out to You, O LORD; And to the LORD I made supplication: "What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!" You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever. (Psa 30:1-12 NKJV)
Most all of us have been in a state of morning at one time or another. Some of us may be going through a period such as that right now. Sometimes we get to the point when we think hope is gone and the end of sorrow will never come. But the truth is, as this Psalm points out, "Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning."
There is hope even when we cannot see it. Eventually, our mourning will be turned into dancing. We will see gladness again. By the psalmist ending praise, he attributes that fact to God, who He thanks and praises for it. The reason we have hope is because of God, who is able to take heartaches and transform them by His grace into strength of character.
They say that many people are depressed over the holidays which we are entering. Either because of loved ones who have passed away or because of some broken relationships in the family, Thanksgiving and Christmas only remind them of that pain and loss, sometimes seeming to go through it all over again. For others, simply being in a depression makes the joy we are suppose to feel during this season seem fake. We feel distanced from others as they have their parties and fun, while we sit sulking by the wayside.
I remember a particularly difficult depression that I went through. All the reasons why I fell into are too many to go into here, but I had come to the point where I could not function with responsibilities either in the church or at my job. But strangely enough, as we went into the Christmas season, it was like a gradual re-establishing of hope in my life. By the time Christmas arrived, I had come out of my depression. The circumstances had not changed, but the hope of the Christ-baby had grabbed hold of my heart and picked me up. Instead of the holidays causing depression, they ended up bringing me out of it. Rather, I think it was God using the hope of Christ to bring me out of it.
When you have gone through a night of weeping, boy does the morning look bright! That is why twice the psalmist mentions giving praise and thanks to God. I don't think it is just a coincidence that Thanksgiving falls just a few weeks before Christmas. One of the ways that we can avoid falling into a depression over lost loved ones or other reasons for sadness, is to focus on the birth of Christ and give thanks to God for the hope that He brought to the world that night. When you do this, you too may find the psalmist words to reflect your own feelings and thoughts. My prayer for you this season is that the joy and hope that Christ brought to mankind will overcome and put into perspective the losses we have be dealt in this life, and that for you, that joy will break forth in your life like the sun breaking the blackness of night at dawn until it shines in all its brilliance. Give thanks and praise His name. Amen.