Joy Comes With the Morning
The events of that April morning are forever etched in my memory. It was 6:30 a.m. when my phone rang. At this point in our lives just the sound of the phone ringing was enough to take my breath away. My husband placed his hand on mine as if to steady me for whatever may come next. “Hello?” “Hey, Sis, it’s me,” my brother’s tired voice met my ear. “Her breathing’s changed. If you want to be here, you better come on. I don’t think we have much time.”
I climbed out of bed and prepared to drive the short distance to my parents’ house. It was there that my mother lay in a hospital bed—and would soon leave this world for her eternal home.
I walked up the familiar porch steps and quietly let myself into the house. I found my father and brother inside, weary from a long night of trying in vain to keep her comfortable. I made them a pot of coffee and took my place beside my mother’s bed.
As I did, I reached for the book I had seen Momma write in so often in those last few months. It was her journal, and in it she had written her joys, her sorrows, her fears. After a few minutes of reading I came across an entry on Psalm 30.
“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.” (v.5)
This Psalm is filled with the ebb and flow of life—joys and sorrows, laughter and tears. The little room I found myself sitting in that morning had seen its share of both. Late night conversations about hopes and dreams, loving kisses on little ones’ heads, and now this…a long goodbye. But it was the quote my mother had written in her own shaky hand that gripped my heart:
“If your life is filled with joy, give thanks to God. If you’re enduring pain and tears, give thanks to God. In all things, offer your praise…Joy and sadness are temporary conditions, but praise and thanksgiving are permanent expressions.”
On that morning, and for many mornings after—in truth, for many mornings still—my family would experience the pain of loss. Yet, in the middle of it all, I could be sure of two things—my God was faithful, and He was good. Psalm 30 ends this way:
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (v.11)
How? How has God done these things? By taking the curse of sin—the curse that brought with it all this disease and death—and placing it all upon the shoulders of His only Son who has carried it to the cross and paid for it Himself. Because of this, I knew—my mother knew—that though we would weep now, joy would come. And it is because of this that we can proclaim, with the psalmist,
“…my glory may sing Your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever!” (v.12)