By Kathy Lay
This Weeks’ Verse: Psalm 30:5, “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (NLT)
Twenty-two stinkin' hours. Twenty-two hours I'll never get back again because I allowed some punk to infect me with his funk and put me on intruder alert mode. This person is a friend from the past who we tried to help once. And as people tend to come and go out of our lives, he'd drifted out to the perimeter of “acquaintence.” We had only infrequent contact with him and because of some unfortunate circumstances, when we did have contact, it was tainted with negativity. Then all of the sudden one night this week, a few phone calls culminated in a dark night for us. All we'd done was try to help the guy and now in some twisted turn of events, we were on the defense?
This guy was infiltrating and threatening my quality of life. My fleshly response, I'm ashamed to admit, was fear. I hate conflict and avoid it like the plague. Now faced with it I felt nauseous, on the brink of tears, and shaky. I tossed and turned a good portion of the night imagining the worst. I prayed for peace and resolution, but allowed my mind to drift into worry.
When my alarm went off the next morning I went straight to the Word (why had I not done that earlier?!). I opened my NLT to Psalm 103 and my eyes were drawn directly to verse 6 because at some earlier date I had drawn a box around it: “The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.” Thank You, Lord! Our dawn was beginning to break.
There was an appointed hour for a phone call that afternoon that would either resolve things (our desire all along) or take the situation to a whole new ugly level (as this guy seemed bent on some mis-directed vengeance trip). I'd confided in an angel wrapped in the flesh of a dear friend and at the appointed time, she initiated an instant message intercessory prayer that kept us focused on unleashing God's power for over 15 minutes. If you've never prayed with someone via instant message—Whew! It was powerful! And effective! Our dawn was turning to morning.
As I emerged from my office that afternoon into the cold, gray rain, there was a ray of light burning in my husband's parked car. He had our "adversary" on his cell phone and the situation was being resolved—Hallelujah! My God-confidence had been restored so much through the prayer with my friend that I knew it would be. But how awesome to rejoice and bask in the light of day!
Spring follows winter, the mountaintop is across the valley, and the light of morning chases away the darkness. How I love our faithful God!
An angel in Matt. 28:6 told the women, “He isn't here! He has been raised from the dead just as he said would happen...”
Just as he said would happen. As painful as his trial, persecution, and crucifixion were, Jesus knew the outcome all along. That hope, that promise from His Father God, saw Him through his dark night and I imagine, tinged his proclamation on the cross, “It is finished!” with a resounding note of triumph.
That hope, friends, is our hope too.
His crown of thorns was traded for a crown of glory…so ours will be.
His abused, wounded, beaten and crushed body was restored fully…so ours will be.
His sorrow and weeping marked a dark period, but oh, did joy ever come with the morning! And so it is for us. As we reflect on Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection this Easter weekend, cling to that amazing promise that dark is always followed by light for God's children. His joy most definitely comes with the morning.
Father God, how faithful You are! Thank you for showing yourself so mightily and for the promise that even though we may weep in a season of darkness, You'll give us joy in the morning. Thank you for the most joyous of mornings, the day when victory was claimed over sin and death forever. Though we're humbled and grateful for the big picture result of that—spending eternity with You!—I also pray we claim that hope in our daily lives now, Lord. To live victoriously in and for You is the best witness we can give. In Jesus Name, Amen!
*Read the Easter accounts in the gospels and absorb the details of Holy Week and the blessed Resurrection.
*Watch “The Passion of the Christ” and with each crack of the whip or pounding of the hammer, place your burdens and sins on the one who willingly takes them. It makes the resurrection that much sweeter. If you're in a period of darkness right now, claim the promise of joy that will follow in your morning. It's coming, Dear one.
Psalm 17:10-11, “For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your godly one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasure of living with you forever.” (NLT)
1 Corinthians 15:55, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (NLT)
Isaiah 26:19, “But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.” (NIV)
Matthew 28:8, “The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. ‘Good morning!’ he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. Jesus said, ‘You're holding on to me for dear life! Don't be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I'll meet them there.’” (MSG)