Today’s devotional is a reprint of one I wrote in May 2020. This and the next two Wednesday devotionals are reprints of some of my favorite devotionals. I hope they are just as meaningful today as they were a year ago. Pastor Dave
“You have turned my mourning into dancing. You took off my funeral clothes and dressed my in joy so that my whole being might sing praises to you and never stop. Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever.”
Maybe you have had this kind of experience: trouble comes and life gets tough, but once the trouble is behind you a blessing comes. I remember when my grandmother died. My grandmother lived with my family most of my childhood. When I was 19 years old she suffered a series of strokes. The first stroke almost killed her, but she survived and eventually was able to return home. Once home, she was completely dependent upon the rest of the family to care for her. She lived another 4 months until another stroke ended her life. During those 4 months prior to her death, life was difficult for her and for all of us who cared for her. But, as difficult as life was, her death was much worse. We all missed her. As a 19 year old boy, I couldn’t imagine anything good coming of her suffering and death.
Throughout my childhood, my grandmother told me I was just like my grandfather the Methodist pastor (her husband died before I was born, so I never met my grandfather). At age 35, I finally answered my calling and became a Methodist Pastor. Soon after, I had my first experience as a Pastor caring for someone in the church who was dying. It was then that I realized the great gift my grandmother had given me. During those months of caring for her before her death, she was preparing me to do the same for others. Her impact upon my pastoral ministry is huge. Therein lies the blessing beyond her suffering and death.
But, to be clear, I am not suggesting that her suffering was worth the blessing that followed. If I could have had it my way, I would have chosen to not learn the lesson in that way. I would have preferred to have had her with me longer. That is often the case. The blessings that come don’t necessarily make the trouble seem worth it. But, that doesn’t change the fact that troubles come and we go through them. Nor does it change the reality that God can do something with our suffering, using it for the benefit of someone else. God can bring something good from the ashes of our struggles and pain. My grandmothers suffering prepared me for ministry, and because of what I learned while caring for her, the lives of countless people have been blessed. This is the work of God in the midst of our troubles—not necessarily taking the troubles away, but rather using them to help others. Maybe you have had that experience. I certainly have!
Psalm 30 talks about this very thing. In Psalm 30:11, we hear that God turns our mourning into dancing. Beyond the struggles of life, God brings blessings, blessings that bring great joy and purpose. Today, as I take a moment to remember my grandmother, I can see how God turned my mourning into dancing. Our God can bring something good even out of the worst of circumstances. We may not see this truth in the middle of our troubles, but one day we will. God is a God of new life, of resurrection, of dancing. Thanks be to God. Amen
God bless you, stay safe, and I hope to see you again soon.