“Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning” (Psa. 30:5).
Even the most faithful of God’s people experience affliction and sorrow. The Psalmist stated, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psa. 34:19). Paul and Barnabas told the new disciples in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch that “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). While this might be somewhat disturbing and alarming, it may look different when we realize that joy often follows periods of sorrow. And it is most certainly encouraging to realize that the ultimate eternal joy of heaven will follow whatever afflictions, persecutions or sufferings we may have to endure while here on earth. Our text is not the only Scripture which says that joy follows weeping. In this article, let us notice a few examples of this principle.
Just a few verses below our text, we find the Psalmist saying, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (Psa. 30:11). Job spent many long nights of weeping, but finally joy came in the morning (Job 42). In the days of Esther, wicked Haman sought to destroy the Jews. They, no doubt, had many long nights of weeping. But they were delivered through the efforts of Esther, resulting in Haman being hanged instead of Mordecai. The Bible referred to this as “the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday” (Esther 9:22). Looking toward the cross and the empty tomb, Jesus said to His disciples, “you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy” (Jn. 16:20).
Surely no one ever experiences joy following weeping more than the sinner who comes to Jesus in gospel obedience and is forgiven of all his sins (Matt. 11:28). We may never, in this life, fully understand why Christians often experience joy after weeping. One reason, however, may be found in Ecclesiastes 7:3 — “Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.” Perhaps weeping helps get our heart in a condition for a blessing. Weeping has a way of releasing us from our sorrows. Also, I feel confident that joy so often follows weeping because our Lord is touched by our tears and responds to our needs. We close with this wonderful assurance: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16).