Because He LivesApril 26-30
Because He Lives You Can Have the Joy of Healing
O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You have healed me. – Psalm 30:2 (ESV)
Margaret Sangster Phippen wrote that in the mid-1950’s her father, British minister W.E. Sangster, began to notice some uneasiness in his throat and a dragging in his leg. When he went to the doctor, he found that he had an incurable disease that caused progressive muscular atrophy. His muscles would gradually waste away, his voice would fail, and his throat would soon become unable to swallow.
Sangster threw himself into his work in the British home missions, figuring he could still write and he would have even more time for prayer. “Let me stay in the struggle Lord,” he pleaded. “I don’t mind if I can no longer be a general, but give me just a regiment to lead.” He wrote articles and books, and helped organize prayer groups throughout England. “I’m only in the kindergarten of suffering,” he told people who pitied him. Gradually, Sangsters’ legs became useless. His voice went completely. But he could still hold a pen, shakily. On Easter morning, just a few weeks before he died, he wrote a letter to his daughter. In it, he said, “It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice to shout, “He is risen!”–but it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout.” ( David Scudder, The Four Hallelujah’s)
It’s most likely that King David penned Psalm 30 after experiencing some sort of physical healing. That healing led David to write a psalm of praise. W.E. Sangster didn’t experience a physical healing, but even, still he had a song of praise. Sangster knew that his ultimate healing would be in heaven. He also knew because Jesus had risen from the grave his healing was sure to come.
Shouts of joy are frequently heard at sporting events. However, God has won far more victories for us than any sports team. Have you experienced or personally been around someone who experienced the joy of physical healing? What are reasons you can imagine to praise God even if you don’t experience physical healing?
Praise God for the times you’ve seen Him physically heal you or someone you love. Thank God for the hope of eternal healing in heaven.
Because He Lives You Can Have the Joy of Restoration
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.– Psalm 30:3 (ESV)
Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin, but held it up with a smile; “What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried, “Who’ll start the bidding for me?” “A dollar, a dollar”; then two!” “Only two? Two dollars, and who’ll make it three? Three dollars, once; three dollars twice; going for three..” But no, from the room, far back, a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; then, wiping the dust from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low, said; “What am I bid for the old violin?” And he held it up with the bow. A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two? Two thousand! And who’ll make it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and gone,” said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, “We do not quite understand what changed its worth.” Swift came the reply: “The touch of a master’s hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin, is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine; a game–and he travels on. “He is going” once, and “going twice, He’s going and almost gone.” But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought by the touch of the Master’s hand. (Myra ‘Brooks’ Welch)
God is in the business of restoration. Some of you know what it’s like to feel worthless and given up on. And some of you know what it’s like to have God touch your life and give you a new sense of worth and purpose. In what ways has God touched your life and given you a sense of joy and restoration?
Praise God for the pits He has rescued you from. Thank God for renewing your soul and giving you new life in Christ.
Because He Lives You Can Have the Joy of Favor
Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. – Psalm 30:4-5 (ESV)
A man was walking past a farm and noticed a farmer feeding pigs in a most extraordinary manner. The farmer would lift a pig up to a nearby apple tree, and the pig would eat the apples off the tree directly. The farmer would move the pig from one apple to another until the pig was satisfied, then he would start again with another pig. The city man watched this activity for some time with great astonishment.
Finally, it was more than the passersby could take, he walked over to the farmer and asked, “This is the most inefficient method of feeding pigs that I can imagine. Just think of the time that you would save, if you simply shook the apples off the tree and let the pigs eat them from the ground!” The farmer looked puzzled and replied, “What’s time to a pig?”
In Psalm 30, King David rejoiced that the anger of God may be real but momentary, while His favor (acceptance, grace) is lasting, even for life. The correction or discipline of God is for a moment, but His grace abides forever. Remembering the favor of God did not only cause David to praise, but also caused him to compel others to praise Him. It was fitting because they also were recipients of God’s grace.
There may be times when you have sinned and you feel you are facing God’s anger. If you will deal with your sin, it is only for a moment. God’s grace is what lasts for a lifetime.
Let Psalm 103:8–11 be your source of praise today: “The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.”
Because He Lives You Can Have the Joy that Comes in the Morning
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. – Psalm 30:5 (ESV)
A man noticed a lady in the grocery store with her child in her cart. The child asked for cookies. Her mother said no. The little girl began to cry loudly. The mother patiently said, “Now Missy, we’re half-way done, it won’t be long.” The same thing happened in the candy aisle. This time the little girl kicked and screamed. The mother said, “There, there, Missy, only two more aisles and then we’ll be done.” At the checkout counter, the child reached for the gum. When her mom said no she began to scream louder than ever. The mother said patiently, “Missy, we’ll be through this checkout stand in five minutes and then we can go home and both have a nice nap.” The man followed them out to the parking lot and complimented the woman. “I couldn’t help noticing how patient you were with little Missy.” The mother replied, “Thank you, but my little girl is Francine…uh I’m Missy.” (Timothy George)
Weeping doesn’t last forever. David wrote, “Weeping may tarry for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Almost certainly, David said this as a testimony from his own life. There were many tearful nights, followed by joyful mornings. Commentator James Boice writes, “By itself, this passage could mean, merely, ‘into each life a little rain must fall’ or ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ or ‘you’ve got to take the bad with the good’ or ‘cheer up, things will get better’…. But what David is talking about is God’s disfavor versus his favor, expressed in the experiences of life. His conviction is that the favor always outweighs the disfavor for God’s people.” (Boice)
The emphasis in Psalm 30:5 is on the certainty of God’s comfort and joy to His people. Morning always follows night, and the weeping believer may be confident that as he keeps his focus on God, He will bring him once again to joy. What sorrows are you dealing with? How does it make you feel knowing God promises they are temporary and will pass away either in this life or the next?
Thank God for caring about your heartbreaks. Thank God for the certainty of joy in the morning.
Because He Lives You Can Have the Joy of Dancing
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, – Psalm 30:11 (ESV)
A young girl became a Christian in an exciting revival at her church and was baptized the next Sunday morning. That afternoon, she ran through the house singing and dancing. Her sour grandfather rebuked her with these words, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You just joined the church and you’re singing and dancing on the Lord’s Day!” Crushed by her grandfather’s attitude, the little girl went out to the barn, climbed up on the corral fence, and observed an old mule standing there with a sad, droopy face and bleary eyes. As she reached over and patted the mule sympathetically, she said, “Don’t cry, ole mule. I guess you’ve got the same kind of religion that Grandpa has!” (Bart Leger)
The dedication of David’s palace was a happy event in Psalm 30. David used it as a reason to remember all the times God brought him from sadness to joy, from mourning to dancing. God removed David’s sackcloth of repentance and replaced it with garments of gladness.
This divine exchange of sadness to joy is made possible by the death and resurrection of Christ. Picture the disciples intense sadness on the night of the crucifixion and the contrast of intense joy on the day of the resurrection. This is the same divine exchange God offers you with salvation.
Praise God that we have something to dance about as believers. Thank Him for giving you a wardrobe of joy!