We are not promised a life free from suffering and pain. As much as we might long for Utopia in this life, it will never be. One day to be sure, those who trust in the Lord will find ultimate joy and peace, but not yet. Life in a fallen world, filled with sin, is a life of struggle and grief and pain. Even coming to faith in Christ and following Him is not a guarantee of a life free from pain, no matter what some TV preachers say.
But this life is not only grief and pain. Psalm 30 makes it clear that we have a hope not only in eternity but in this life also. Pain and suffering in this life is but for a moment. The night may be dark and deep but the Psalmist is able to look to the dawn knowing that joy comes in the morning, that God makes all things new. We cling to that assurance from God that there is an end to the heartache and anguish. We also celebrate who God is and what He has done, knowing that God who has been faithful in the past will continue to be faithful in the present and in the future. We may mourn in the moment but the Lord will work in such a way as to turn that mourning into dancing.
Some will push back saying that is all pie in the sky. What good does it do me now to have some far off hope for a better future? Such a question does not understand the power of hope, of the assurance of a better future. Slaves in the American south lived miserable lives. Families were forcibly separated and sold to different owners. Beatings were far too common. Yet it is out of that misery that some of the most powerful songs of hope were written. The old Negro Spirituals were so often songs on a better future, trusting in the Lord to one day bring redemption and fulfill His promises. They were songs that turned mourning into dancing and gave people the strength to carry on.
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3 O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
8 To you, O Lord, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9 “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?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!