Sunday, July 27, 2014

Is there Joy in the Morning?

When the darkness of the night comes the sounds outside our house seem magnified. The wind is more threatening, the creaking of the house more disturbing and the phantoms of the mind more fearful. How we can long for the morning. Our fears and tears seem to burden us and flow more freely in the night for we feel so alone.

There are times when we sense we are in the night time of the soul even though it is daytime. Our heart and mind feels that the night has no end and how we long for the coming of a new morning. Our own imprisonment in the power of the night might have come from any number of sources. Whether personal choices of external events we suffer and the tears flow and despair increases. We may face the collapse of our dreams, failures in business and finance, betrayal or broken health and the unfairness of up-bringing or any number of other reasons.

How do we handle these experiences when combined with a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness? It can drive people to various forms of addiction or even suicide. Others might become stoic or harbour revenge of those who have brought on the night time of the soul. What such responses achieve is a deepening of the night and the ultimate destruction of the self. What a person needs is the promise of a new day dawning.

To read the Psalms from the Judeo-Christian Bible is to realise there is a promise of a new morning for any of us. In Psalm 42 (and others) we read of the writer’s crawling from out of the chains of his soul’s night. It wasn’t an instantaneous deliverance but he knew the sunshine of hope and grace was appearing on his horizon. It began when he realised the Lord God was with him, unseen in the dark, but there. ‘Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.’ (Ps. 42:11

To read the news and watch it on the television reveals this world is not only in a moral, spiritual and racial night-time, it is an actual nightmare. Consider the Iraqi Christians being so violated by the Islamic State, will their night end? The Bible promises them a new morning when the Lord Jesus Himself will wipe away their tears in the realm we call glory. A place where there is no night. A place where the scum who are the creatures of the night will be excluded.

Does the nation of Israel have the promise of a new morning dawning? Though it is hard to see it in the midst of the horrors of the Arab world and public opinion, yes it does. After two thousand years of their ‘night’ by what authority can this be said? The same authority which promised us the coming of Jesus, the authority that predicted the crucifixion of this same Jesus, the authority which offers light to those in darkness and hope for those weeping. The Bible! The book by Zephaniah puts the promised morning so well: ‘The Lord has taken away the judgements against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more.’ (3:15)

We will all experience the sorrow and tears in the night. Only those with a confidence in the faithfulness of the Lord to His word have the hope of the new morning coming. As the psalmist put it ‘Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.’ (Ps 30:5b). Can we count on it? That depends, not on God but upon your believing in Him with His offer and grace to you. How can you be certain of His mercy to you to give you the joy of the morning? Because of His rising from the dead, His triumph over the powers of the ‘night’ and authority to forgive and to make you a new person. Do as psalmist says: ‘Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.’ (Psalm 143:8).

We will still face tough times. There may well be different ‘nights’ which seek to roll over our person but now we have a light in our darkness. The light of God’s grace and His word will comfort us and help us endure the night and know that the morning will come and with it, the power of joy.

In my night of sorrow and despair
With its doubts and fears so unfair
Give me a song of the morning to sing
I’m your wounded, fearful child who clings
To your faithfulness in your written word
And this I know, my prayers will be heard
My night, however long it will last
Morning joy comes, the night is past.

Copyright Ray Hawkins July 2014.

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