Summary: An exposition of the 3 key ingredients to enduring difficult times.
The Rev'd Quintin Morrow
Psalm 30:1-6, 11-12
“Mourning ‘Til Morning”
“Weeping may spend the night,
But joy comes in the morning”
Suffering trouble, turmoil, danger and disappointment come as part and parcel of being creatures living in a fallen world. The case is multiplied for Christians. For, while unbelievers are beset by all the seemingly random tragedies of living in a universe under the curse of the Fall—such as disease, disaster, pain and perturbations—we as believers also have an enemy, Satan, actively working to confront us with temptations, troubles and trials in order to disable our usefulness in the spread of God’s kingdom.
Trials, trouble and disappointment are inevitable. So if you are here this morning and have not experienced them yet it is only because you haven’t been around long enough.
However, while these trials, troubles and disappointments will invariably come to our lives, our defeat by them is not predestined. Indeed, not only can we survive the slings and arrows that life—and Satan—throw at us, we can triumph over them. And the secret of getting through hard times and coming out the other side triumphant involves the acquisition of a virtue called endurance. Endurance is patience under assault; it is stamina in the course of tribulation; it is intestinal fortitude in the face of opposition.
In the 12th chapter of the Book of Hebrews, the author of that epistle likens the Christian life to a race. But not just any race. He compares the Christian life to a marathon rather than a sprint. In a sprint, the most valued asset is raw speed. But in a marathon, the most valued attribute is endurance. Keeping on keeping on. So Hebrews 12:1 admonishes us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Knowing then that troubles, trials, dangers and disappointments will come our way, we are to acquire the virtue of endurance—not only to survive them, but to triumph over them.
David knew something about troubles and danger in his life. He saw great victories like his defeat over Goliath, being chosen as king of Israel, and triumphing over God’s enemies. But he also knew great tribulation and distress, such as his adultery with Bathsheba, the death of an infant son, and another son rising up in open rebellion against him. David experienced the high and lows of life in fellowship with God, yet died with the epitaph: “He was a man after God’s own heart.” How ever did he do it? Endurance.
And David gives us the recipe for acquiring endurance in the psalm he penned and is appointed for today: Psalm 30. The psalms were the worship and national songs of the people of Israel. As with many of the psalms, we know little of the circumstances surrounding the composition of Psalm 30. The superscription in our Bibles, found just beneath the numeric designation of the psalm, simply tells us that Psalm 30 is a song at the dedication of the house of David. Whatever the personal situation that motivated David to pen this song, we can tell that it was written as a testimony to triumphing through turmoil. And in it, we learn the 3 key ingredients to acquiring the virtue of endurance.
The first element to acquiring an endurance that will see us through to victory over tribulation is remembrance.
In Psalm 30 David remembers 2 important truths. The first is that God had successfully delivered him from troubles in the past and could therefore be counted on to do so again; and the second is that difficulties don’t last—they are temporary.
Notice that David remembers how God had successfully delivered him from turmoil in the past in the opening verses of Psalm 30. He says, “O Lord, you have lifted me up” (past tense), “You brought me up from the grave” (past tense), and “You restored my life as I was going down to the grave” (past tense). David kept in mind what you and I should keep in mind when difficulties come: God has delivered us before and He is the same God who can deliver us again. We can count on him. We can be assured that we won’t be facing trials alone. God is there for His people, and He is able. He did it before and He can do it again.
But notice what else David remembers about life’s tribulations: They are temporary.
“For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, his favor for a lifetime. Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
When we are in the midst of difficult times it is easy to give in to hopelessness and to begin feeling as if our own trials will never end. “This cancer will never go away.” “My marital problems will never be resolved.” “I’ll never get out of debt.”