Wednesday of Pentecost 6 – Psalm 30

1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
    and have 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 have brought up my soul from Sheol;
    you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
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.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
    “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
    you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
    I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cry,
    and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“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?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

He had two wonderful children, a great job, a wife whom he loved and who loved him. He was on top of the world. Until that night when the sheriff’s deputies knocked on the door with the chaplain. It was every parent’s nightmare. Their son had lost control of his speeding car and hit a tree. He was gone. In that instant everything changed in that house.

Look at verse 7 above. It is the moment in which something happened in David’s life. By God’s favor, his mountain was strong. But then God turned his face away and all was lost. David was dismayed.

Our fortunes and joys are very tenuous. Perhaps yours was upended by a medical crisis, the descent of a loved one into mental illness, the loss of a job, or something else. David does not tell us exactly what was going on here. He has enemies. It appears quite suddenly like David was losing. He was dismayed. Just as suddenly, God turned his mourning into dancing, loosed his penitential sackcloth and replaced it with the garment of gladness. But the psalm tells us something very important. What feels like God’s anger is always transitory. His love and favor, however, are lifelong. Weeping lasts but a night. Joy comes in the morning.

My friend who lost a child was eventually led to joy. I know it is so. When we wept at his funeral we also rejoiced. For now, once more, he could hold his boy alive in his arms. The dust does not praise God nor do those in the grave, but the living praise God. God has made him and his son alive. With David, who also lost more than one son, including a Son on a cross, my friend is not silent but sings God’s praises and gives thanks to God forever. 

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