Summary: The burdens of life can seem the truest part of life. In Christ, the truest part of life is joy in the Holy Spirit.
This is a short homily given at an inner-city mission in Toronto.
Have you ever felt like life is too much? It’s all just too hard, too painful, too much work? Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel?
I think we’ve all felt something like that from time to time. The accumulated stresses or disappointments of life are just too much to bear.
In this psalm King David, its author, has been reviewing his life, its ups and downs, its struggles, its failures and its joys.
And he’s also recounting his experience of God, the ebb and flow of his relationship with God, which, depending on what season of his life he was remembering sometimes really had more ebb than flow, more blockage that free-flowing communion.
For David, as for all of us, that ‘blockage’ was never God’s doing.
It had everything to do with David’s own behaviours, or sometimes his own responses to situations and challenges he faced, where David just kinda shut down.
David wasn’t a stellar guy, but he was a forgiven guy. In the earlier part of his life he committed adultery with a man’s wife and then had the man killed. Not a highlight of his life. Later on, he learned how to repent, to genuinely turn from his sin and come to God with really what you could call a pure kind of sorrow for his sins.
So when David says that God’s anger is but for a moment and his favour is for a lifetime, he’s not just talking. David knew that his sin drove a huge wedge between him and God.
He was honest and knowledgable about that. That ‘wedge’ David described as God’s anger. But very importantly, David says that God’s anger is just for a moment.
God has zero interest in being angry. God is all about reconciliation, about fixing relationships that are broken, about bringing healing and joy back into our lives that would otherwise be full of wounds and hurt.
He does that through Jesus, who forgives us of our sins when we trust that He died for us on the cross, and when we repent, confess and turn from, our sins.
So God’s anger is just for a moment, but...then what does David say? God’s favour is for a lifetime! Now David faced consequences to his earlier actions.
When God forgave David, he didn’t wipe his actions out, rewriting David’s history.
God doesn’t do that. David faced the consequences of his earlier actions, and some of them were pretty severe.
But for David, the most important thing was that he knew that his relationship with God was restored. There may be weeping in the night.
There may be sorrow for sin, there may be logical and unavoidable consequences for our dark actions, but ultimately the thing that remains in the morning is joy...BECAUSE God’s mercy’s are new every morning.
The Bible says: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is God’s faithfulness.
When we feel like life is too much, too hard, too painful, too demanding, may we remember that God’s love is real, His care and concern for us is real, His power to change our lives by coming into our hearts through faith in Jesus Christ is...REAL.
And may we remember that though weeping may stick around for the night, joy comes in the morning. Amen.