(This devotional 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 parenting is teaching me is not to overreact. 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 internet—the great anxiety-inducer—makes us think she has a severe illness, so we elevate it to a code-red.
After a few years of parenting and our fair share of unnecessary Urgent Care visits, we learned sometimes you have to endure the moment because this too shall pass. What feels life-dominating can look different a week later. We survive and experience God’s faithfulness. It teaches us to trust Him when we can’t see what He’s doing. We discover worry is a waste. And next time we face something similar, we can remember how God sustained us and apply what we learned.
Maybe you’ve experienced this at night. There are often things that hit you before bed, or while you’re trying to sleep, that feel urgent. Maybe it’s a fear, worry, 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, or the hopelessness lifted. It’s not that your problems are solved, but you realize things are not as bad as they seemed.
Joy Comes in the Morning
David captures this in his famous words from 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. David often found himself in the pit of despair or surrounded by enemies. The situation seemed bleak. Was this the end? The foes and the fears increased. 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 not only suffered from things beyond him, but he suffered from turmoil within. But God has healed him (30:2).
There were days David felt deep discouragement or bitter sorrow with no end in sight. But his trials were temporary. David 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? How has God been faithful and powerful to deliver you through those seasons of suffering you weren’t sure you would survive?
Like David, we can all give thanks for the ways God has kept us through a night or season of weeping and renewed our joy. Times of mourning eventually give way to times of rejoicing. God holds us and carries us. Yes, things were hard. Things are hard. The pain lingers and the wounds can still feel fresh. But we taste the goodness of God through these seasons where He proves Himself to us.
Hold Onto Hope
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 things you know He has done, and the unseen things you trust He is doing.
Your enemies 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 always has good plans and purposes for us, even in our pain. 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 morning. No day or season lasts 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