“Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
— Psalm 30:4 & 5
Have you ever noticed that even in the most difficult times, things often feel better in the morning? When I was younger, I often suffered from stomachaches. They were probably an indicator of some stress or anxiety but when I was younger, we didn’t talk about those kinds of feelings as much as we do now. The year I was in fourth grade, I went through a period of time when I would wake up in the middle of the night with a stomachache. We had moved to a new house and a new school. I was having trouble making friends and fitting into a classroom of girls that had been in school together since kindergarten. I woke my mom up every night telling her I thought I was going to throw up. I remember her reassuring me that I was not going to be sick (I dread throwing up!) and telling me to fall back asleep by thinking happy thoughts. The “happy thoughts” usually worked. Eventually another new girl moved into my class and we became good friends. The nightly stomachaches stopped. There was joy in a new friend.
In Psalm 30, the writer is giving thanks for recovery from a serious illness. We have seen many strangers lately, leaving hospitals surrounded by the people who have cared for them applauding and waving signs of congratulations. They are the ones that have recovered from a very serious bout of Covid-19, one that left them on ventilators for days. Because they are strangers, we only bear witness to the joy that comes in the morning. We did not hear or see the weeping that came night after long night.
In these last two weeks, we have witnessed the senseless killing of young black men and the deep sound of weeping that comes in those nights. As we watched a Wendy’s go up in flames this past weekend, we could hear flat out wailing when we listened. In the midst of quiet protests that have gone on now for over two weeks we hear and see the weeping that grows louder as the night grows darker.
As much as we would like to believe that happy thoughts could make all of our current troubles go away: Covid-19, unemployment, racism; we all know it will take a lot more than happy thoughts. Our current crises in the United States will only be resolved with creative thinking, scientific study, restructuring of our economy, facing our own sinfulness as people of privilege, and so much more. The hope in which we live is that joy always comes in the morning – even after the longest and darkest of nights. I invite you to continue to sing praise to God, for we do indeed live in God’s favor every moment of every day, no matter the weeping of our collective hearts and spirits. When we pull together as churches, cities, states, and a country, change will come and with the change, we will again find joy in the dawn of a new day.