By David Faust
As a young man I served as a volunteer counselor at a summer camp for high school students. A youth ministry veteran gave me some wise advice. “Don’t stay up late and try to counsel teens during the wee hours of the night,” he said. “Their problems seem worse when they’re exhausted, and things usually look brighter in the morning.”
At any age, most of us don’t think as clearly in the darkness as we do in the full light of day. Emotions intensify and burdens seem heavier at 2:00 AM than they do at 10:00. A good night’s sleep won’t make our problems go away—but it usually helps.
Tears in the Night
David must have experienced some sleepless nights. He wrote, “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
No doubt David wept through the night when his infant son was sick and dying, and he wailed in anguish when his rebellious son Absalom was killed (2 Samuel 12:16, 17; 18:33).
Tears filled the night when the Jews saw their homeland overrun by the Babylonians. “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion,” they cried (Psalm 137:1). The weeping prophet Jeremiah lamented the fall of Jerusalem, his beloved city.
When Lazarus died, his sisters Mary and Martha mourned, frustrated because Jesus had waited so long before coming to their aid.
Tears filled the night when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethse-mane. “He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death” (Hebrews 5:7).
Tears filled the night after Jesus was crucified. His disciples huddled together behind locked doors in an upper room, shocked by their Master’s gruesome death and terrified the same fate awaited them.
We all know what it’s like to toss and turn in bed, worrying about a tough decision or a complicated problem the next day will bring. Have you ever sat up through the night with a sick child or a dep-ressed friend? Have you ever paced the floor with your mind racing, or watched a pointless TV show through bleary eyes in the middle of the night because you were too upset to sleep? After the death of a loved one, did the darkness of grief settle over your soul? Depression shoves its way into our lives like an unwelcome overnight guest—but darkness eventually gives way to sunrise.
Joy in the Morning
Yes, “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
After decades in exile, God’s people resettled in the promised land and their joy was great when the city of Jerusalem was rebuilt.
Mary and Martha’s impatience changed to praise when Jesus raised their brother Lazarus from the dead.
The agony of Gethsemane, the pain of Calvary, and the confusion of the upper room turned to amazement and hope on the first day of the week when Jesus arose from the dead.
Tears in the darkness give way to joy in the morning. By the grace of God we can pray, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. lord my God, I will praise you forever” (Psalm 30:11, 12).
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of the Lookout.