When the Tide Turns

My dear departed godly aunt used to say, “When things are smooth, they surely will turn rocky, and when things are rocky, they surely will become smooth.” That little bit of “country wisdom” may not seem like much, but those words always are ringing in my ears. Why?

Well, first of all, they are accurate. The nature of life is that nothing stays the same for long. There are life cycles, health cycles, political cycles and of course, the ever present change of seasons. No two days are alike, and understanding this keeps me ready for “whatever.”

Second, the words keep me humble, and not overconfident. Even when things are good, we should savor the moment, for we never know when bad news will arise. It’s not pessimism, just an honest realism.

But the main reasons my aunt’s words found a place in my heart is that they are soundly biblical. I was reminded of that in my recent reading of Psalm 30:4-7:

“Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
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.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.”

Here is a believer who is a little overconfident, thinking he would never be moved, but suddenly finds himself in trouble. The good news is that whatever God may be doing by way of disciplining or teaching him, he is confident that the night of weeping will be followed by a morning of joy.

That’s the way it works.

We need not become cynical or pessimistic about life, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking we can’t be moved. We can and we will. But it’s all right, for we know that God is with us in our trouble and sorrow, and that the tide will turn. When we commit our way to the Lord, we eventually will join the psalmist in proclaiming. . .

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing!”
Psalm 30:11

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