In Psalm 30 we find one of the most raw and transparent reflections David ever penned. In it we see him praising God for his faithfulness in both discipline and in blessing. For David, the relationship he valued with God contained the possibility of both sides of the spectrum of love. God’s love includes both of these realities. As a matter of fact, I believe David would argue they are necessary if we are to claim fellowship with God as a father.
Let’s take just a moment and go through the Psalm.
1 I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. 2 O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. 3 O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. 4 Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. 5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. 6 And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved. 7 Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled. 8 I cried to thee, O Lord; and unto the Lord I made supplication. 9 What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? 10 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper. 11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; 12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. (KJV)
What I find interesting is how David accepts as a given the reality of suffering in the human experience. It seems David was not thrown off by the fact of suffering and what it produces–mourning. Mourning is the sorrow we feel as we come to grips with the reality of our situation. As we process what has happened and we move into life with a different set of assumptions than we had before. Life after divorce, betrayal, death, depression. Life in the new normal.
As I read these words this morning I was struck by another assumption by the psalmist. This mourning we all must walk through is temporary. It is not supposed to last forever. Not because the pain has gone away, mind you. Rather, the reason it does not last is due to God’s ability to take what we have lost or has been taken from us and turn it for our good (Romans 8:28). Not all the events of our lives are good, but God can turn them toward good. He takes the tattered remains of our brokenness and reorganizes and reestablishes and recreates so we are no longer what we used to be.
David gives us insight into the nature of hope through our mourning not in spite of it. The shepherd-king is so sure of God’s transforming and redeeming promise he says, “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.” It don’t know about you, but I desire for this to be how I live out my fellowship with God. When God leads in the dance called life, where we begin and where we end will seem like a dream that has come true.