A. I’m sure that many of us are familiar with the musical Annie, about the optimistic red-headed orphaned girl named Annie, who is eventually adopted by a billionaire.
1. Before the happy ending comes, Annie and the other girls at the orphanage endure the abuse of Miss Hannigan, the drunken owner of the orphanage.
2. After a couple of attempts to run away from the orphanage, Annie manages to escape and runs into a friendly stray dog, and tells him of better days to come, and then she sings to him the song “Tomorrow.”
3. “The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow, Bet Your Bottom Dollar That Tomorrow There'll Be Sun
Just Thinking About Tomorrow, Clears Away The Cobwebs And The Sorrow 'Til There's None
When I'm Stuck With A Day That's Gray And Lonely, I Stick Out My Chin And Grin And Say
The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow, So You Gotta Hang On 'Til Tomorrow, Come What May
Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love You, Tomorrow, You're Always A Day Away
Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love You, Tomorrow, You're Always A Day Away”
B. So, do you like the song “Tomorrow?” I do.
1. Perhaps you think it is too sappy and simplistic.
2. Are you more like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh who is so gloomy and pessimistic, and says things like, “If it is a good morning, which I doubt” and “It’s all for naught”?
3. I’m not trying to promote optimism or pessimism, but I do want to promote faith in God’s promises which give us real hope.
4. The promise that I want us to explore and embrace today is God’s promise, “Joy is coming soon, I promise!”
5. Where does that promise appear in the Bible, you might ask? Let’s look at Psalm 30:5: “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (NLT)
6. Life is full of moments that are very hard and bring us to tears, but those dark times and heartaches can eventually bebsoftened and lifted by the joy of the Lord.
7. God makes this promise available to all people, but not everyone knows the Lord and even those who know the Lord don’t always cling to His promises.
C. Amanda Todd was the Canadian teenager who became an unwitting spokesperson for despair at the age of 15 after a predator had convinced her to pose topless for a photo.
1. The predator later blackmailed her with threats to circulate the picture if she didn’t reveal more, but he posted the photo anyway.
2. Humiliation rained down on Amanda like a summer thunderstorm.
3. From the high school hallway to the internet highway, Amanda became the laughingstock of her circle.
4. Previously, Amanda had been a fragile and private person, and now she retreated even further.
5. She avoided friends and stayed home, but she still couldn’t escape the texts, calls, and stares.
6. For 3 years Amanda was stalked and taunted – she descended into drugs and alcohol, she cut herself, and she even tried to take her own life.
7. Finally, in an act of desperation, she posted a nine-minute video on YouTube, and using flash cards set to a sad song, she recounted her months of horror.
8. The video image shows only the lower half of her face and written messages, including: “I have nobody. I need someone. My name is Amanda Todd.”
9. A month after posting the video, Amanda attempted suicide again and this time she succeeded.
D. Max Lucado writes so effectively about Amanda’s situation, saying: “If hope were a rain cloud, Amanda Todd lived in the Sahara Desert. She searched the skies for a reason to live and found none. Does God have a promise for someone like her? He’d better. Anyone can give pep talks, but if God is who he claims to be, he sure as shootin’ better have a word for the despondent. Self-help manuals might get you through a bad mood or a touch patch. But what about an abusive childhood or a debilitating accident or years of chronic pain or public ridicule? Does God have a word for the dark nights of the soul? He does.”
1. That word from God that I’m pointing you to today is Psalm 30:5 – let’s read it in a number of translations and see that no matter the translation, the truth comes through loud and clear.
2. Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (NLT)
3. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (ESV)
4. Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. (NKJV)
5. Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. (NASB)
6. Weeping may stay overnight, but there is joy in the morning. (CSB)
7. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter. (The Message)
E. The promise begins with the phrase: “Weeping may last through the night” (Ps. 30:5).
1. We all have experienced that reality, haven’t we?
2. You didn’t need to read that Bible verse to know its truth.
3. Weeping can last through the night…Just ask the widow or widower…Just ask the father and mother in the emergency room…just ask the person who has lost their job or lost their way.
4. Weeping may last through the night, and through the next night, and the night after that…
F. So, the weeping may last through the night is not new news to any of us, but the second phrase, may be new to us: “Joy comes with the morning” (Ps. 30:5).
1. When we know God, we know that despair will not rule the day.
2. When we know God, we know that sorrow will not last forever.
3. The clouds may eclipse the sun, but they cannot eliminate it.
4. The night might delay the dawn, but it cannot defeat it.
5. The morning sun always comes, maybe not as quickly as we would like it to, and maybe not as dramatically as we desire, but morning comes, and with it comes joy.
6. The sun will come out tomorrow.
G. This is great news for those of us who find ourselves in a dark night.
1. This is great news for those of us who have cried a river.
2. This is great news for those of us who have lost hope.
3. This is great news for those of us who wonder if morning will ever bring our long night to an end.
H. This must have been how Mary Magdalene felt the Friday and Saturday nights following the crucifixion of Jesus.
1. Before we review her experience that resurrection morning, let’s remember where she had come from and what she had been through.
2. Some speculate that Mary was a prostitute, but no one knows for sure.
3. We do know that before Mary Magdalene knew Jesus, she had seven demons (Luke 8:2).
a. Demon possession is kind of a foreign and strange concept to us.
b. It is hard to imagine the kind of prison the demons kept her in and the negative influence they exerted over her.
c. Did those demons afflict her with depression, shame, and fear? We don’t know.
d. The number seven is sometimes used in the Bible to describe completeness.
e. It could be that Mary Magdalene was completely consumed with troubles.
4. But then Jesus stepped into her world.
a. Jesus spoke and the demons fled.
b. For the first time in a long time, the oppressive forces over Mary were gone.
c. We can imagine that after Jesus had cast out those demons, Mary Magdalene could sleep through the night, had a better appetite, and could smile again.
d. Surely the face she looked at in the mirror was not as anguished.
5. Truly, Jesus restored life to her life.
6. And Mary tried to show her appreciation by reciprocating.
a. Mary was among the female followers, who the Bible says “were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples” (Luke 8:3).
b. Wherever Jesus went, Mary Magdalene followed.
c. She heard Him teach, she saw Him perform miracles, and she may even have helped prepare His meals.
H. Mary Magdalene was always near Jesus, even when being near Jesus led her up Mount Calvary.
1. Mary Magdalene was near Jesus at His crucifixion – Mary stood “near the cross” (Jn. 19:25).
2. Mary was there when they nailed Jesus to the cross.
3. Mary was there when they pierced His side with a spear.
4. Mary was there when they lowered Jesus’ body from the cross and helped prepare it for burial.
5. And so, On Friday Mary Magdalene watched Jesus die and saw where he was buried, and then on Saturday, she observed the Sabbath.
I. When Sunday came, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to finish the work she had begun on Friday.
1. The Bible says: On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark (Jn. 20:1a).
a. When she came to the tomb that morning, she knew nothing of the empty tomb.
b. She came with no other motive than to wash the remaining clots of blood from Jesus’ beard, cover his body with spices, and to say goodbye.
c. It was a dark morning – both literally and emotionally.
2. But when Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb, the bad news became worse.
a. The Bible says: She saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb (Jn. 20:1b).
b. Assuming that grave robbers had taken the body, she hurried back down the trail to find Peter and John.
c. When she found them, she declared: “They’ve taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put him!” (Jn. 20:2b)
3. Peter and John ran to the grave site – John was faster and arrived first, but Peter was bolder and stepped inside immediately and John followed.
a. Peter saw the empty slab and wondered; John saw the empty slab and believed.
b. It all came together for John – the resurrection prophesies, the removed stone, the linen wrappings and head cloth folded and placed.
c. John concluded to himself: no one took the body, no one robbed the grave, Jesus arose from the dead – he saw and believed – the resurrection had its first celebrant.
J. Peter and John left to tell others, and we might expect the narrator to follow them and continue their story – after all, they were the apostles, they were the future writers of the Bible.
1. But the narrator decided to continue to follow the story of Mary, the one who stayed behind at the tomb.
2. The Bible says: But Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. (Jn. 20:11a)
a. We can picture her face streaming with tears and her shoulders heaving with sobs.
b. How alone she must have felt at that moment.
3. The Bible then says: As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. She saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’s body had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?” (Jn. 20:11b-13a)
a. That had to seem like one of the silliest questions in history – why would anyone be crying in a cemetery? Right?
b. She mistook the angels for men – and why not, it was dark, her eyes were filled with tears, and who would be expecting angels to be hanging around?
4. Her answer of despair is so heavy and final: Why am I crying? “Because they’ve taken away my Lord and I don’t know where they’ve put him” (Jn. 20:13b).
a. Mary’s world had officially hit rock bottom – think about it: her master and friend was executed, His body had been buried in a borrowed grave, and it looked like the tomb had been robbed and His body was stolen.
b. Maybe you’ve had a moment like Mary’s – a moment where the bad news became worse and the dark moment became darker.
K. But it was in the midst of Mary’s darkest moment that the Son (S-O-N, not S-U-N) came out.
1. The Bible says: Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know it was Jesus. “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it that you’re seeking?” Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you’ve put him, and I will take him away” (Jn. 20:14-15).
a. Mary didn’t recognize that the man was Jesus.
b. So Jesus did something about it – He called her by name.
2. The Bible says: Jesus said to her, “Mary!” (Jn. 20:16a)
a. Maybe it was the way he said it – the inflection or the tone or the accent.
b. Maybe it was the flood of memories associated with Jesus saying her name.
c. But whatever it was, when she heard him call her by name, she knew the source.
d. The Bible says: Turning around, she said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”—which means “Teacher” (Jn. 20:16b).
3. In that blink of an eye, in the split second it took her to turn around, her world went from night to day, from despair to joy.
a. Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
4. Mary threw her arms around Jesus.
a. The Bible doesn’t say she did that, but the next words of Jesus were: “Don’t cling to me since I have not yet ascended to the Father” (Jn. 20:17).
b. Maybe she fell at His feet and wrapped her arms around His ankles.
c. Maybe she threw her arms around His torso and held Him tight.
d. We don’t know how she held Him, we just know she did.
e. And Jesus allowed it for a moment or two.
5. I like what Max Lucado writes about this scene: “I wish I could paint this scene. Capture it in oil on canvas and frame it. The brilliant golden sunrise. The open tomb. Angels watching from a distance. The white-robed Messiah. The joy-filled Mary. Her hands extended to Him. His eyes upon her. If you are an artist and paint it, please include the reflection of the sunrise in the tears of Mary. And, by all means, paint a broad smile on the face of Jesus.”
6. What a scene! What a moment of joy! What a contrast from the night to the day.
7. John concludes the scene with these words: Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what he had said to her (Jn. 20:18).
L. Of all the people to whom Jesus could have spoken to first, Jesus went to Mary Magdalene.
1. Max writes: “He’d just ripped the gates of hell off their hinges. He’d just yanked the fangs out of Satan’s mouth. He’d just turned BC into AD, for heaven’s sake! Jesus was he undisputed King of the universe. Ten thousand angels stood in rapt attention ready to serve. And what was his first act? To whom did he go? To Mary, the weeping, heartbroken woman who once had seven demons. Why? Why her? As far as we know, she didn’t become a missionary. No epistle hears her name. No New Testament story describes her work. Why did Jesus create this moment for Mary Magdalene? Perhaps to send this message to all the heavyhearted people: “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
2. Yes, it’s true, joy comes – and joy comes because Jesus comes.
3. Tomorrow comes because God keeps His promises.
a. You and I are somebody important to God.
b. You and I have a spiritual inheritance.
c. You and I can defeat our enemy, the devil.
d. You and I will weep through the night, but joy will come with the morning.
4. These promises and whatever other promises God has made are true and will come true.
a. But we must trust in God and His promises, and we must wait patiently for the Lord to fulfill His promises.
b. We must not give up during the dark, long night, but must hold on and wait for daybreak.
5. God loves you and me, and because He loves us, we can be assured that joy will come.
M. Let me tell you about a woman named Mary Cushman who almost missed out on the joy that comes with the morning.
1. The Great Depression of the 1930s had all but devastated her family.
2. Her husband’s paycheck shrank to almost nothing, so she began to take in laundry and ironing.
3. She dressed her five kids with clothing from the Salvation Army.
4. At one point the local grocer, to whom she owed money, accused her 11-year-old son of stealing.
5. That was the last straw, it was all she could take, she said: “I couldn’t see any hope…I shut off my washing machine, took my little 5-year-old daughter into the bedroom, and plugged up the windows and cracks with paper and rags…I turned on the gas heater we had in the bedroom and didn’t light it. As I lay down on the bed with my daughter beside me, she said, ‘Mommy, this is funny – we just got up a little while ago!’ But I said, ‘Never mind, we’ll take a little nap.’ Then I closed my eyes, listening to the gas escape from the heater. I shall never forget the smell of that gas…
Suddenly I thought I heard music. I listened. I had forgotten to turn the radio off in the kitchen. It didn’t matter now. But the music kept on, and presently I heard someone singing an old hymn: ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry, Everything to God in prayer. Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer!’
As I listened to that hymn, I realized that I had made a tragic mistake. I had tried to fight all my terrible battles alone…I jumped up, turned off the gas, opened the door, and raised the windows.
6. Mary Cushman went on to explain that she spent the rest of the day giving thanks to God for the blessings she had forgotten, like her five healthy children.
a. She promised she would never again be ungrateful.
b. They eventually lost their home, but she never lost hope.
c. They weathered the Depression and those five children grew up, married and had children.
7. Mary says: “As I look back on that terrible day when I turned on the gas, I thank God over and over that I ‘woke up’ in time. What joys I would have missed…How many wonderful years I would have forfeited forever! Whenever I hear now of someone who wants to end his life, I feel like crying out, ‘Don’t do it! Don’t’ The blackest moments we live through can only last a little time – and then comes the future.” [Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (New York, NY: Pocket Books, 1984) 196-198.]
N. Tomorrow comes and joy comes.
1. Watch for it and expect it as you would the morning sunshine.
2. It came to Mary Magdalene, it came to Mary Cushman, and it will come to you and to me.
O. So, what do God’s people of His promises do? They keep coming to Jesus.
1. Even though the path may be dark, even though the sun seems to sleep, even though everyone else is silent and distant, God’s people of faith and hope keep walking toward Jesus.
2. That’s what Mary Magdalene did.
a. She didn’t comprehend the promise of Jesus.
b. She came to the tomb that morning looking for a dead Jesus, not a living one.
c. But at least she came, and because she came, Jesus came to her.
P. And what about us?
1. We might be tempted to give up and walk away, but we must not.
2. Even when we don’t feel like it, we must keep walking the trail to the empty tomb.
3. Let’s keep opening our Bibles.
4. Let’s keep meditating in Scripture.
5. Let’s keep singing hymns.
6. Let’s keep talking with other believers and keep listening to them.
7. If we keep putting ourselves in a position to be found by Jesus, He will come to us, and His joy will be ours.
8. Jesus said, “You will weep and mourn…you will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy…your hearts will rejoice and no one will take your joy from you” (Jn. 16:20-22).
Q. But that doesn’t mean that weeping doesn’t come.
1. Weeping comes to all of us. Heartaches leave us with tear-steaked faces and heavy hearts.
2. Weeping comes, but so does joy.
3. Darkness comes, but so does the morning light.
4. Sadness comes, but so does hope.
5. Sorrow may rule the night, but we must not let it rule tomorrow and the rest of our lives.
R. And so: Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
1. And the greatest of all the mornings that will come will be the morning we wake up in heaven.
2. We are all familiar with the wonderful description of heaven written by the apostle John: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away. Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new” (Rev. 21:1-5).
3. In the next chapter, John adds: The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more; people will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give them light, and they will reign forever and ever (Rev. 22:3-5).
4. One of the old hymns in our hymnal is the song “Everybody Will Be Happy over There.”
a. Verse 1 begins: “There’s a happy land of promise over in the great beyond” and the chorus rings out “Everybody will be happy over there, we will shout and sing His praises thru the never ending ages, Everybody will be happy over there.”
5. And so joy will come in the morning – and if it doesn’t come in a morning on this side of eternity, I guarantee you joy will come in the morning over there. I believe it, don’t you?
6. So hang on to God and hang on to God’s promises - Don’t ever give up – Joy is coming soon!
Resources: Unshakable Hope, Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson, 2018