The Gospel is a message of joy, even in the midst of seemingly endless suffering. God does not promise to keep us from all sadness, but He does promise that His joy is always waiting for us on the other side.
This truth is encapsulated in Psalm 30:5, which says, “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
God Is the Source of All Joy
God is a God of joy. It is an essential element of His nature, and those who put their trust in Him can find joy even in the toughest circumstances because they know that God is bigger than their circumstances and they trust Him to bring them out (Isaiah 41:10).
Throughout the Bible, we are commanded to rejoice in God (Philippians 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:16) and to recognize Him as the source of our joy and strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
The Cycle of Heartbreak and Joy
It is worth noting that the Bible does not preach joy because everything goes right in our lives all the time. Much of Scripture shows us stories of heartbreak and struggle, in many cases because God’s people have fallen away from Him. We see a cyclical pattern continuously repeating of God’s provision, the people abandoning faith in Him, harm or evil befalling them, the people repenting of their sin and calling out to God, and His deliverance and provision returning to them – a pattern of hills and valleys over the pages of Scripture.
When the cycle returns to the point of deliverance and prosperity, Israel typically commemorated the event with a song of joy. From Moses’ sermon after crossing the Red Sea, to the proclamations of God’s appointed leaders in the book of Judges, to the psalms of David and other musicians, rejoicing in the Lord was an essential element of proper worship.
Even the later prophets who carried messages of doom and judgment for the people ended their preaching with a message of redemption and restoration. Jeremiah, who is often called the “weeping prophet” because of the somber nature of his book and the terrible judgment he proclaimed from God, was quick to recognize that God would bring joy after such sadness (Jeremiah 31:13).
One such high point in Israel’s history was the dedication of the Temple. Psalm 30 was composed by King David for the occasion of dedicating the Temple in Jerusalem, which was ultimately constructed after he died but was a major goal during his time as king over Israel. He made plans and laid up supplies so that his son, Solomon, could actually construct the Temple itself when he was made king.
David is presented by Scripture as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:44, Acts 13:22), and though he was not perfect, he made it a regular practice of his life to seek after God and find joy in Him. Many of the Psalms are written by David and are laced with some expression of joy in the Lord. Psalms like these acknowledge that heartbreak will be a part of our lives, but that it will not last forever, and that joy will soon follow.
Psalm 30 begins and ends with praise to God, and proclaims that God does hear us and deliver us (verses 1-3). It goes on to sing that, while we may sin and God will judge us for our sins, His favor is what will endure forever (verses 4-5). If we build our hope on Him as the foundation for our life, we can be sure that we will stand strong (verses 6-7). This only lasts as long as we continue to cry out to God when troubles come and call on Him as the One Who can help us (verses 8-10). When we do this, our mourning will be turned into dancing (verse 11), and our faith can be further strengthened as we continue to preach Who God is throughout our lives (verse 12).
Joy on the Morning of His Resurrection
Many of our modern worship songs use psalms and passages like this to testify that God will give us joy in our lives. But it can be hard to remember this truth when life is at its hardest.
Jesus also taught that we could find joy in the Father in the context of His salvation and that His death on the cross would produce sorrow for a time but would ultimately lead to great joy. His resurrection from the dead would produce a permanent joy that could never be taken away (John 16:16-22).
When He died on the cross and was buried, some of the women who were His followers mourned as they walked to His tomb to prepare His body to lie in state. However, they were met with an angel who told them the joyful news that He was no longer dead, but alive (Matthew 28:2-7).
They ran from the tomb and told the other disciples what they had seen, and Scripture clearly states that they did so with great joy (Matthew 28:8). Every other appearance of Jesus after His resurrection is related to the understanding that it caused great joy to those He appeared to (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21).
The beloved book series The Chronicles of Narnia ends with Aslan the lion revealing to his friends that they had made it to heaven. He tells them, “The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
Pain and suffering were not a part of God’s original plan for us, but they are a byproduct of sin in the world. However, sin is not all-powerful, and our sufferings cannot keep us bound forever. If we look to the Lord for our salvation and remember His goodness even when things seem their darkest, we can be sure that His joy will outlast the night and bring a new morning of peace and happiness in Him.
Expert Overview of Psalms
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.