But Joy Comes With the Morning
I stared up at the top of our small tent. Bedtime was hours ago, but my eyes had yet to succumb to the darkness. An inflatable mattress pad squeaked next to me, joined by another, then another. The symphony of squeaks repeated every five minutes as my three children tossed and turned in the midst of their slumber. No wonder I couldn’t sleep. A few minutes later one child moaned, while another’s fingernails furiously clawed at every mosquito bite on their leg.
The night oozed like molasses, with an extra trip out for the bathroom, more scratching, crying, and even more squeaking. At who-knows-what-time I wondered how we might ever manage to hike tomorrow, or how we’d even make it through this night.
But the earth turned, and come dawn the sun poked its rays of life across our secluded campsite. Its light glistened atop the surface of the pond, and the five of us snuggled in our tent—laughing about how my youngest cuddled his sister in the night, or how my other son ended up at the bottom of the tent, or who stole whose pillow. We unzipped our tent, and the quest for more sticks and logs for a morning fire pushed aside all the worries, frustrations, and exhaustions of the night before.
As I pulled out our breakfast to the tune of my kids’ play, a familiar verse moved through my mind. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning (Ps. 30:5).
The morning sun lifted our spirits enough to stay true to our original plan. We planned to hike the nearby mountain summit. With water and snacks packed in our packs we headed out on the six-mile trek. The unusually wet August meant rivers and mud to meander over, but what’s worse—it meant mosquitos.
Swarms hovered over our faces and hands. They pierced our long sleeves and pants, and tried to slip through the bug nets draped over our faces. We pressed up the mountain, barely stopping for rests just so the blood-suckers would leave us be. We’d eat lunch at the top, I told the kids. A big Snickers bar of their very own waited for each of them. Inwardly, I wondered if maybe this was too much. Maybe what we’d done was good enough.
As we reached the summit, we hiked up slabs of moss-covered rock. Each turn teased us with the end, until finally, we pulled out of the tree growth and took in the gorgeous view that stretched for miles. It was worth it, I told the kids. And myself. We took a seat on the boulders, with a Snickers bar in hand while we gazed at God’s handiwork. But joy comes with the morning.
That day I couldn’t help but think of the drama we play out with our children on a regular basis. As parents of newborns we spend long sleepless nights shuffling to and from their room for feeding after feeding. Nights that consist of two to three hours of sleep feel like they’ll never end. Until morning dawns, and we see their sweet faces and find ourselves mesmerized by the way their tiny toes wiggle or how the sun sparkles in their eyes. Joy comes with the morning.
In each season with our growing children we enact the same routine. Through teething, toddler tantrums, potty training, their budding independence, and even the changes of adolescence—weeping sweeps in both the night and the day. But through each season, joy sheds her rays in the morning. God leads us through it.
This repetition speaks to the drama that encapsulates all of our lives as we await Christ’s return. The weeping of this world is real. We all feel it. We feel it in our bodies, in our relationships, and in our losses. We see it on the news and in our own churches. We wish it wouldn’t tarry. We wonder why it must. Yet the night won’t last. Christ tells us that joy will come. He will make all things new, and he will trample over death, and he will wipe every tear from our eye (Isa. 25:8; Rev. 21:4). Joy will come with the morning.
We can be even more confident of this reality because the Lord allows us to see replicas of it played out before our eyes each day. Because we’ve lived a hundred sleepless nights followed by a hundred beautiful mornings. Because we’ve cried through a dozen tantrums followed by a dozen more hugs. Because we’ve climbed those mosquito-filled mountains only to get to the gorgeous view at the top.
Our Lord has faithfully pulled us through each tearful night into the glory of the morning. Don’t forget about those times. Remind yourself of them even as you weep in your current darkness. Joy is coming. He’s brought it before—he’ll do it again. Our precious Savior will arrive with joy that lasts. Morning waits upon the horizon.