“I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.”
(Psalms 30:1 – 3)
My NRSV tells me this is a song of David on the recovery from a grave illness. I am glad for David. I have felt the same way many times when I have been ill and have recovered the health I felt was lost. I tend to believe that once I get ill that I will NEVER feel better again. But I do. At least in terms of the passing illness. But I also have a chronic illness that I will never get better from, so in a way what David is talking about is slightly foreign to me. In one respect, I am still in “the Pit.”
“Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Verses 4 – 5)
Weeping – I have done that a lot for various reasons. Sometimes physical, and sometimes emotional. My soul and spirit grieves at times, and I seek relief. The “night” sometimes does not just last for one night but goes on and on. So I look for “morning” – yearning for it and needing. I know that each “night” is followed by a “morning”, but the nights are long. However, I am not alone for God’s Spirit is with me.
“As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” (Verse 6)
As for me, in MY prosperity (whenever that might have been) I was always fearful that it would not last. Prosperity can have many meanings, and I take it to mean (and bible commentators tend to agree with me on this one) times when there is no worry and the things one needs are readily available and in abundance. I guess it is good to be the king. However, the psalmist David has more to say on this.
“By your favor, O Lord, you had established me as a strong mountain; you hid your face; I was dismayed.
To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication: ”What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!”(Verses 7 – 10)
In other words, “How can I praise you if you don’t rescue me God!” Spoken like one who has come out the other side of sadness and despair. But in the midst of grave illness or other misfortunes it is easy to get caught up in one’s own spiraling down thoughts. We need others to remind us that things can get better – if better is taken as a relative term.
Maybe you have guessed, beloved reader, I am going through something on the day I am writing this; trying to remain positive but feeling more of the “night” than the “morning. It is good for me to remember though that morning will come. As the psalmist David says,
“You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” (Verses 11 – 12)