Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Psalm 30 speaks repeatedly of the difference between mourning and rejoicing, death and life, despair and hope. I think we all need to hear about these distinctions, and hear of them frequently. If you are like I am, you confront trials regularly. Some days, as God predicted to Adam in Genesis 3, bring for thorns and thistles in the sweat of our brows.
Don’t get me wrong. I am glad that my trials are mostly in the category we would call “developed world problems.” But they are still trials. They can haunt our lives, inflict physical and mental pain, and rob us of joy.
I know as soon as I say something like that, there will be someone who is ready to say, “Oh, really? You don’t know suffering. I know what suffering is. You have no idea and no place to talk about it.”
The fact is, I don’t have a place to talk about it, but God does. In our Psalm for this week, while we don’t have information about the specific trials, the Psalmist is clear that hardships lead to weeping and even to despair. The Bible doesn’t give us a plan to compare what kind of trouble counts and what doesn’t. It’s trouble. It hurts. It counts.
What hope does the Psalmist give us? The troubles may or may not go away. However, as we trust in the Lord, though we are weeping and troubled now, He will eventually bring joy and hope. It might not be in the next morning, according to our clock. But in the last day, God will bring full and final recovery. In the meantime, He remains the God of mercy and grace. He’s going to give us some of that.
Chiefly, we recognize that God in Christ has already visited us in our time of need. He has done all that is necessary to break down the wall of separation that our sin has created between us and God. He gives his hope, his forgiveness, and his life to us as free gifts. He brings healing through earthly means and, sometimes, through supernatural intervention. And he promises that as he rose from the dead, in the last day, he will raise us as well.
Our sorrow might last for a while. But in Christ, we are partakers of the promise of complete rescue, which brings us joy. This is our confidence.
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