What Comes In The Morning

“…If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust the Lord and rely on your God.”  Isaiah 50:10

I find a great comfort in this verse simply because it acknowledges that Christians can get discouraged.  There are times when one can be made to feel guilty or like their faith in God has weakened when he or she admits they feel down in the dumps.  Well meaning people can say, “no need to feel down; you have God to help you.”  Yes, a discouraged Christian is well aware of that fact.  Reminding one of it doesn’t help.

Times of darkness, depression, feeling very low, comes to everyone at some time or another.  It’s a part of life; a part of living in an imperfect and ungodly world.  Discouragement happens.  We don’t like it.  We don’t want it but there it is swallowing up our hope and joy.  Can anything be done to ease our downcast heart?

There are many examples in the Bible of God’s people falling prey to unwanted discouragement.  The classic case, of course, is Job.  One thing after another hit him full on.  Job lost everything he had:  family, wealth, health, and status.  His wife was his worst comforter.  Yet, in the midst of unimaginable turmoil, Job makes a statement that is extraordinary.  He says in Job 13:15, “Even if God were to kill me, I have no other hope but in Him.”  What an amazing statement!  Job trusted and believed in the fact that God’s ways might not be his ways, but they are by far the best ways.  Job fully understood what we are told in Romans’ 8:28, “ALL things work together for good to those who love God and are called by Him.”

My father often said, “When you don’t know what to do — do what you know to do.”

What you and I know to do, even in the midst of the the blackest sorrows of our lives, is to keep looking up, hang on tight, call out to Him who loves and helps and leads, grab hold of His promises and make that choice to walk on in Him.  Look up, grab hold, walk on, and while you are walking,  remember another of His promises found in Psalm 30:5, “…weeping may last through the night, but joy always comes in the morning.”  

Happiness Vs. Joy

There is a game that Kyrgyz children play in which they use the dried vertebrae of sheep.  The children squat in a circle on the ground and take turns rolling or throwing these vertebrae much like one rolls dice.  Each bone is shiny from its use.  I haven’t fully understood the object of the game; but one thing is certain, the children love to play.  They shout and jump and laugh.  It’s such a simple pleasure that brings about much happiness.

Every culture knows how to find happiness.  In poorer countries happiness is found in the simple things of life because simplicity is all there is to find.  Nonetheless, it is indeed happiness that lives in the hearts of those playing with old bones, riding horses, cooking simple meals, or among a group of women washing clothes together in a river.  In the western world, finding happiness comes in different shapes: a new car, a trip to the beach, a hike in the mountains, a dream job, a house, new shoes, lunch with a friend.  The list of what brings happiness goes on and on.  Pursuing happiness is a desirable thing and it’s especially good that it can be found whether rich or poor.  Happiness comes whether one is playing with old bones or a nintendo — but what about joy?  Can anyone find joy?

There is a great difference between happiness and joy.  You see, happiness depends on outward stimuli whereas joy depends completely on something inward.  The things that make us happy can be seen, but what makes us joyful is invisible yet it is present.

Have you known people who experience a great tragedy, but amidst their tears and sorrow there is a calm in the storm?  Life gives us all sorrow, grief, and disappointment.  No one is exempt.  Some fall apart in the difficult times.  It may take them a long time to emotionally recover; sadly, some never recover at all.  Others can experience the same difficulties; yet even in their tears and broken hearts, they come through stronger with a peace, and yes, a joy that is ever present in their eyes, sustaining them in their hearts.

How can this be?  Why do some survive life’s hurts with calm and inner joy while others are destroyed?  The answer is simple yet poignant: it’s a matter of what we cling to in the tempest of life’s raging seas.  Some fall to the decks sensing no hope at all; others cling to the unseen Creator of the universe knowing that His love and strength will get them through any storm.  One has no hope; despair takes over.  The other has all hope; joy abides.

The truth of the promise found in Hebrews 13:5-6 reminds us of the hope that can come to any of us: “…’I will never leave you,” God says. ‘I will never abandon you.’  Therefore we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will have no fear.’…”  Another comforting and unshakable truth of God is this: “…Weeping may last through the night but joy comes in the morning.”  There we have it: no matter the sorrow or the depth of grief or the piercing hurt, joy comes in the morning and all because God is with us.

Obtaining happiness is a wonderful thing.  We all enjoy the circumstances of life that make us happy; but when happiness subsides, we can thank Father that His joy lives on and on.  It is eternal.  Darkness cannot hide it. Pain cannot destroy it.  It is the joy of God that surpasses anything that happiness can bring or that sorrow can give.  Pursue happiness alone and joy will elude us.  Pursue God and joy lives in us.