With all the chaos in our world right now, many of us are clinging to this truth in Psalm 30:5: "joy comes in the morning." This long-proven truth reminds us that our most painful, frightening, and difficult seasons won’t last. God’s goodness will break through like the morning dawn, resulting in resounding joy. Such joy, in fact, it’ll almost be as if the darkness of night never fell.
“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5
With all the chaos in our world right now, many of us are clinging to the truth in Psalm 30:5. This long-proven truth reminds us that our most painful, frightening, and difficult seasons won’t last. God’s goodness will break through like the morning dawn, resulting in resounding joy. Such joy, in fact, it’ll almost be as if the darkness of night never fell.
As questions and uncertainties abound, may we find comfort in the depths of God’s promise, penned first by a man named David, ancient Israel’s second king.
A surface-level reading certainly bolsters the heart, but what do these oft-quoted words truly mean, and how can we apply the promises they convey to our most unsettling challenges?
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Understanding the Context of “Joy Comes in the Morning”
Initially, David suffered greatly, and I’m certain his trials felt anything but temporary. Though he’d been anointed as ancient Israel’s ruler at a young age and had been proclaimed as a hero, he spent nearly a decade fleeing a tyrannical madman, King Saul. David hid in caves and at one point, fearing eminent death, feigned insanity. I imagine he didn’t know who he could trust and wondered if he’d be living as a fugitive forever. Yet, though his circumstances were far from joyful, he still found cause for joy—in God.
When Saul learned a priest had offered David aid, he had 85 men of God slaughtered. Can you imagine the depth of sorrow and guilt David felt? Yet, in response, he wrote, “Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior? Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever?” (Psalm 52:1, NLT) Or, translated more literally, “Don’t you realize the hesed,” God’s steadfast, merciful, fierce and faithful love, “endures forever?” He continued in verse 8, “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God,” flourishing and ever-fruitful. “I trust in the hesed of God forever and ever” (ESV).
David found joy amidst grief by trusting in the goodness of God, His joy-giver.
Amid his most terrifying circumstances, David declared, aforehand, in essence, “My weeping won’t last forever. Come morning, God’s dawn will break through with joy.”
Years later, when he penned Psalm 30, from which countless devotions have come, he was able to declare that God indeed had done just that. “You turned my wailing into dancing,” he wrote, “You removed my sackcloth,” symbolic of weeping, “and clothed me with joy” (Psalm 30:11-12, NIV).
Joy Made Greater by the Night: Important Contrasts in Psalm 30:5
1. God’s Anger and Favor
God’s anger, which is as fleeing as a moment, contrasts with His favor, which endures forever. In New Testament terms, we could phrase this as God’s discipline, which He lovingly applies to reroute us when we’re heading toward self-destruction, compared to His never-ending grace for all who trust in Him. We don’t often like thinking about God’s anger, and we might even wonder how a loving God could display such an intense emotion. But both aspects, His anger and His favor, stem from His love.
For example, I feel deep, righteous anger when I think of children sold into sex trafficking or experiencing abuse at the hands of their parents. I’m certain this anger reflects God’s heart for both situations and is intended to stir me to action.
I might also become angry when someone I love makes a harmful, life-altering choice—not at them, but at the situation and the pain I know lies ahead.
And in my anger, many times I weep. But I weep with hope because I know God’s ultimate favor—the gift of heaven and an eternity spent with Him—is coming. Thanks to Christ’s death and resurrection, one day God “will wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” (Revelation 21:4, NIV)
2. Night and Morning
Throughout Scripture, night is portrayed as darkness and a time for ungodly acts. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul, the author told ancient believers they were “children of the light and children of the day” and that they did not “belong to the night or to the darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5, NIV). In verses 7 and 8, he continued, saying, “For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”
In Psalm 130:6 the psalmist says, during a time of great anguish, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.” As nineteenth century theologian Albert Barnes states, “The idea is that of watchers—night guards—who look anxiously for the break of day that they may be relieved. It is not that of persons who simply look for the return of day, but of those who are on guard—or it may be who watch beside the sick or the dying—and who look out on the east to mark the first indications of returning light.”
In contrast, the Bible presents day, dawn, or daylight as godliness, hope, healing, and cause for joy. In 2 Samuel 23:4, David said the king who ruled with righteousness was “like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning.” This was another way to say, “like the break of dawn after the dark of night.” Jesus is referred to as the light of the world, as are His children, and whoever follows Him “will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12, NASB). But the most powerful example of God’s darkness-shattering grace comes from Luke 24, which tells us about Christ’s first post-resurrection appearance that occurred at dawn. Can you imagine the joy the women felt, after mourning their Savior for three long days, to see Him alive once again?
3. Weeping and Joy
Weeping and joy reveal intense emotions, both as opposite one another as a feeling can be. We’ve all experienced a sorrow so deep, we literally felt the pain physically. Perhaps when we lost a loved one, a relationship was shattered, or we witnessed the suffering of someone we care about. Our grief or distress, whatever its provocation, stir within us a longing for heaven and point to a profoundly-felt truth—life wasn’t supposed to be this way. But lest we remain in despair, God made a promise, from the moment man’s sin first brought sickness and death to His very good creation—one day good and life and light will reign (Genesis 3:15).
In fact, whereas the sorrow might “tarry,” as the ESV puts it, joy (rinnah in the original Hebrew) will burst forth like a jubilant shout. As nineteenth century theologian Charles Ellicott so beautifully put it, “Sorrow is the wayfarer who comes to the tent for a night’s lodging, but the metaphor of his taking his leave in the morning is not carried on, and we have instead the sudden waking with a cry of joy, sudden as the Eastern dawn, without twilight or preparation.” But perhaps most importantly, our joy, which is given to us by the Holy Spirit and comes through our relationship with Christ, soaks deep into our soul, giving us strength when we feel weak.
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How to Live for the Hope of the Morning from Psalm 30:5
For many, a time of weeping is here now. Perhaps a family member battles illness. Maybe a job has been lost, or an adult child has turned their back on us or the faith. As a result, circumstances feel dark, as if the night has landed for good. But Scripture promises that isn’t true.
Night might linger, but dawn is coming. It will burst forth with hope and life and light, and when it does, oh, the joy that will enter our souls, such joy we won’t be able to keep it in. We’ll shout and dance and sing God’s praises, every tear but a distant memory. A memory that not only will never dampen our celebration but will in fact make it all the sweeter.
Why does joy come in the morning? Because the night will always pass, and God’s grace falls afresh with the dawn of every new day. Hold tight to that truth and stand, like a watchman, anxiously awaiting the break of dawn, because it is sure to come.
A Prayer for Joy in the Morning
We confess our need for you, for your Spirit to fill our lives afresh with great joy and strength. The hard times can often leave us feeling dry and defeated. We’ve been weary and burdened. We’ve struggled through for so long, it’s hard to see light at the end of the tunnel anymore. Would you please give us a glimpse of your goodness again, reminding us that you have never left us and that you have promised to see us through. Thank you for your faithfulness Lord. Forgive us for not trusting you, for buying into the lies of the enemy, and not focusing on what we know to be true from your word. Breathe your joy and peace into our lives again, cover us in the shadow of your wings, shine the light of your truth over us.
At the start of each day, help us to recognize you above all else. Enlighten the eyes of our heart that we might see you and notice how you're at work through our lives. Give us wisdom to make the best choices, fill us with a desire to seek after you more than anything else. Please allow your Spirit and power to work mightily within us, through us, again, fresh and new. Thank you that you are greater than anything we may face in our day, or in these difficult seasons. Thank you that your presence goes with us, and that your joy is never dependent on our circumstances; but it is our true and lasting strength, no matter what we might be up against in this world. We ask that your Spirit lead us, that your peace would guard our hearts and minds in you. We ask for your grace to cover our lives, and that you would bring us through every dark season with your joy and favor. We love you Lord. We need you today, and always. In Jesus' Name, Amen. (prayer by Debbie McDaniel, A Prayer for the Joy of the Lord)
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Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.
As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.
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