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Lenten Devotional – Day 14 – Joy in the Mourning

Scripture:  Psalm 30

A psalm. A song for the dedication of the temple of David.

I will exalt you, Lord,
    for you lifted me out of the depths
    and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
    and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
    you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
    praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

When I felt secure, I said,
    “I will never be shaken.”
Lord, when you favored me,
    you made my royal mountain[c] stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
    I was dismayed.

To you, Lord, I called;
    to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
    if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
    Lord, be my help.”

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

On a beautiful October Saturday, 31 years ago, my lovely bride Carol and I were joined in holy matrimony in Marsh Chapel at her alma mater, Boston University. The day before, my father died. If you think that sentence was abrupt, try living through it…yikes! While there were some very difficult moments, God’s presence, through Carol, brought me much joy, not unlike how Rebekah comforted Isaac after his mother’s death (Genesis 24:67).

It was, however, a full ten years before I could get through that time of year without a bout of sadness for the loss of both parents (mom died six years before dad, when I was 19). Once again, God worked through my lovely bride, gently shifting my focus from the time I lost, to the time I had with  them. This view has helped me find joy every autumn since.

Even today, bad things happen. As I write this, I’m still recovering from the horrific abuse I suffered at the hands of an organization I worked with a
few years ago. But the memories of times when God brought me joy, combined with Carol’s continued loving presence, are slowly helping me find a new perspective. And even if it takes another ten years, I have faith that joy will come in the morning.

Prayer: Gracious Jesus, of whom the church is your bride, may the memories of times you helped us be a source of sustenance and healing in present
difficulties. Amen!

  – Charlie Stribula – Woodbridge, Virginia

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