For anyone who has grieved and are in the midst of it all you simply don’t feel like dancing. In fact you are often so sad that you don’t think you will ever be happy again. When the time finally comes for that first smile or laughter during your season of grief you may even be surprised that it happened. Don’t worry, you will come to the end of your grief and how do I know this? Because King David wrote about how God dealt with him and how his mourning was turned into dancing.
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? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” 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! Psalm 30: 1-12, (English Standard Version or ESV).
When we seek God we are told that we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13, Proverbs 8:17) and in our grief is often the times of our lives that we seek God the most. Let’s face it, when things are going well for us we sometimes forget to praise God and give Him thanks. It was the same for David as well I am sure. But when we come to one of those life crisis or what I call “speed bumps” in our life, a time of sorrow, a time of grief, a time of fear, a time of not knowing what to do, we seem to remember God and seek Him fervently. I love how David wrote about this in Psalm 30. He starts by thanking God for protecting him in the midst of his crisis. This is a good reminder to us as well that we should thank God for watching over us also. God is always at work in our lives even though we don’t always acknowledge it or feel His presence. David must have been pretty low in spirits when he cried out to God because he says that God brought him back from Sheol. What is Sheol anyway?
According to the dictionary online Sheol means the abode of the dead in early Hebrew thought https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Sheol According to Bible Hub online the word means underworld (place to which people descend at death) http://biblehub.com/hebrew/7585.htm It is where people go after death, to the grave, not a place David was prepared to go so early in his life I would think. David is thanking God for bringing him back from death’s door. I don’t know about you but I can certainly relate to this having been in situations where I almost died. He thanks God for giving him back his life rather than being sent to the pit, which is a reference to hell. David is deeply appreciative and praises God for the second chance at life. Now that is certainly reason for dancing and not mourning, wouldn’t you say?
Here comes the promise as described by David. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. How often I have cried out to God while trying to sleep because of some life crisis I find myself in or the pain of the grief that I am dealing with. I may fall into a restless sleep only to awaken to swollen and red eyes but also sunshine and birds singing. My circumstances may not have changed from all the weeping but my attitude changes and a peacefulness calms my heart. That is how I have experienced weeping in the nighttime and joy in the morning. Joy is not happiness, joy is so much deeper. It is your heart surrendering to God with the knowledge that God is taking care of you. This results in attitudes and emotions and feelings changing from fear and despair to a deep peace, contentment, and joy. Suddenly it is like the clouds of despair are changed out for hope and the certainty that you are not alone in your situation, you are under God’s care. Jesus has come knocking on the door of your heart and you opened the door to Him and replaced sadness with love and joy. I love that!
Now that the clouds of despair have been overturned there are some things that David did and so can we. As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” We have been brought back into the realization that God is in control of our life and we want to remain obedient to Him. Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! God, where are you? You are here, just as you always have been and David asks for mercy and God is merciful to Him. God is merciful to us as well while we struggle with grief or despair. You have turned for me my mourning into dancing. What a wonderful phrase. Can you feel the joy and excitement that David expresses here? He was in a terrible place, a place that perhaps you also are familiar with, a place of fear and dark thoughts, a place of worry and sadness. And yet after spending some time in the pain and agony that brings tears flowing in the night-time there is a second chance for David and a second chance for us as well. And God turns our crisis, our grief, into a festive dance, a party, and a happier time! I don’t know about you but I have found much encouragement in this Psalm. I am ready for some dancing in my own life as the past ten to twenty years have been pretty rough and I have walked far too long in a season of grief. I am so glad to know that a better day is coming. Bring on the music because I am ready to dance!