A happy Thanksgiving Day to citizens of the United States of America! Today many families will gather to celebrate and to give thanks. Many will each too much; some will watch hours of American football or basketball on television while younger men and women play the same games outside. A significant number will gather in houses of worship to praise God. They will give thanks for his works of creation, sustainment, and salvation. While they celebrate, others will grieve untimely deaths, loss of jobs, deteriorating relationships, or family separation because of work.
Psalm 30 celebrates the saving acts of God while reflecting gravely on the danger of pride and memories of loss. The Psalmist writes key words in verses 6 and 7: “As for me, I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.’ By your favor, O LORD, you had established me as a strong mountain; you hid you face; I was dismayed.” His world, it seems, turned upside down quickly. Words of complacent pride had preceded the reversal. He feared death and called for fire, prayer preserved in the Psalm,
“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” (Psalm 30:8-10).
God rescued him. The beginning and ending verses of the Psalm record his prayer of thanksgiving:
“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…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” (Psalm 30:1-3,11-12).
Joy permeates that prayer! God has turned everything right side up again. It’s not time to mourn any more; it’s time to dance for joy. Some of us may not feel like praying the prayer of deliverance just yet. To those who still grieve, this psalm’s message is: Be faithful. Keep on trusting and continue to pray. The Psalmist says:
“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” (Psalm 30:4-5).
May your Thanksgiving Day be filled with love and renewal as you reflect on the good God has given. May God comfort you who grieve and restore your hope. “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”