(This devotion is day eighteen of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)
Read Psalm 30
One thing I’m learning in parenting is not to over-react. It’s easy to freak out in the moment, whether in anger or fear as small things feel mammoth. My daughter spills her drink on the floor (again), and my frustration is bigger than her mistake. Or she has a cold that sounds bad, and the great anxiety-giver of the internet makes us think she has a severe illness, so we elevate it to a code-red.
After a year of parenting and our fair share of unnecessary urgent care visits, we’ve learned sometimes you just have to endure through the moment—or even the season—because this too shall pass. What feels life-dominating or immediately pressing often looks very different a week later. We survive. We see God’s faithfulness. It teaches us to trust, and that worry is a waste. And hopefully, next time we face something similar we can apply what we’ve learned like good students of God’s curriculum for growth.
Maybe you’ve experienced this at night. There are often things that hit you before bed, or while you’re in bed trying to sleep, that feel huge. Maybe it’s a fear, some worry or anxiety, discouragement, or hopelessness. Something sticks in your head like a burrow in your shoe and you just can’t shake it. It feels like it will never be solved, never get better, or never go away. But then often (though not always) when you wake up, something has happened. Your perspective shifted. Circumstances didn’t change, but your worry is not as big, the anxiety isn’t out of control, the gripping fear has dissolved, the discouragement and hopelessness lifted. It’s not that life is now fixed or perfect, but you realize things are not as bad as they seemed.
David captures this in his famous lines of Psalm 30:5. “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
This psalm calls for thanksgiving in light of God’s care for His people. So many times, David found himself in the pit or surrounded by enemies. The situation seemed bleak. Was this the end? The foes are many. They induce fear. David and his soldiers doubt they could overcome such an army. And yet David testifies that God has drawn them up from the pit, rescued them from impending death, and restored their life (30:2-3). David’s not only suffered from things beyond him, but he’s suffered from turmoil within. God has healed him (30:2).
There were days David felt discouragement or sorrow that felt like it would never end. But they always did. He could say, knowing the full weight of life’s trials and yet also knowing God’s faithfulness through each one, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever” (30:12).
Can you recall sorrowful songs in the night? Do you know what it’s like to walk through seasons of suffering, fear, worry, trouble, temptation, or depression? How has God been faithful and powerful to deliver you through them?
Like David, we can all give thanks for the ways God has kept us through a night of weeping—whether one night or a long season—and renewed our joy. Times of mourning eventually give way to times of rejoicing. The things we thought would overpower us don’t, and they don’t because God doesn’t let them. He sustains us and holds us and carries us. Yes, things were hard. Things are hard. But we taste the goodness of God through these seasons where He proves Himself to us.
If you’re in a season of sorrow or struggle, don’t lose hope. God is with you and will be faithful, just like He has been time after time before. The mountain is movable, but only if and when God moves it. Wait on Him. Trust in Him. Hope in Him. And in the meantime, give thanks for who He is, the seen things you know He’s done, and the unseen things you trust He is doing. Your enemies—earthly or spiritual—will not win the battle against you and dance on your grave. You have the Victor on your side and He fights for you.
We can give thanks during the night because God is our God. He is more real and true than the fear, anxiety, or discouragement we wrestle with. He is our deliverer (30:1), a warrior who fights for us and defends us (30:2), healer (30:2), restorer (30:3), life-giver (30:3), holy (30:4), just and gracious (30:5), our strength (30:7), merciful (30:8), helper (30:10), and joy-giver (30:11). He is our God and we give thanks. Our thanks rides on the wings of trust and carries us through the storms of the night.
In his commentary on Psalm 30, Charles Spurgeon writes, “Let your songs be grateful songs, in which the Lord’s mercies shall live again in joyful remembrance. The very remembrance of the past should tune our harps, even if present joys be lacking.”
The night gives way to the morning. Winter ends and spring arrives. No day or season last forever, however dark the night or cold the winter. The sun will shine again. Hold on through trust and thanksgiving. What we find once we make it through, having held onto our hope in God, is that we were being held all along.
I love this stanza from William Cowper’s hymn, “God Moves in A Mysterious Way.”
“Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.”
Take courage. Why? The grim, gray clouds hovering above your head shall soon break with mercy and blessing.
 Charles Spurgeon, Psalm 30 from The Treasury of David, http://www.romans45.org/spurgeon/treasury/ps030.htm