“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” — Psalm 30:11 (NIV)
Memory is one of God’s greatest gifts. Remembering good days, good people, and good moments fills us with sweet joy. However, not all memories are good — sometimes we recall hard days, challenges, grief, struggles, and pain. But those memories don’t have to bring sadness. They can also be a cause for joy when we see God’s hand in them.
This morning my devotional reading took me to Psalm 30, David’s song of praise and thanksgiving. In my Bible, there is a date beside this Psalm — just over a year ago — and several notes throughout. David declared “I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths” (v. 1). I penciled in “You will lift me.” David said, “O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit” (v. 3) I wrote there: “You will bring up,” and “You will spare me.” And beside verse 11, the verse quoted above, I jotted: “You will turn,” and “You will remove.” The season that matches the date beside this verse was one of the hardest in my life. We were facing joblessness, homelessness, and uncertainty. So much was out of kilter that I knew my only stability was in the Word of God. On the morning that the Spirit led me to David’s words, I claimed God’s faithfulness in the depths and the darkness. I declared that God, not my circumstances, would be victorious. My mantra became: “God has a place and a plan.” I repeated it to myself many times a day.
We sensed God directing us to leaving the town in which we lived, but where would we go? Our impulse was to return to the place we left more than twenty years before. It felt like a message from God when Genesis 37:17 and 2 Kings 6:13 came up in my daily devotionals. Both verses contain the the name of our hometown — Dothan. But we still had questions. Where would we live? God provided a beautiful home on a quiet country road. How would we survive? My husband had taken medical retirement and had been without income for six months, and I had been out of work for two. God provided unexpected funds. Where would I work? Though I submitted dozens of resumes and went to several interviews, doors were tightly shut. Then a family friend suggested I drop my resume at a local Bible college. A few weeks later, God set me behind the desk of my dream job — one combining the worlds of faith and learning — with the opportunity to further my education. As if all that were not enough, we became grandparents to a beautiful baby girl just a few weeks ago.
Today I look at those notes and thank God for lifting me up out of that season of despair. God helped me overcome the struggles, and God restored my life. When I remember all that God brought us through in the past 18 months, I can’t help but “dance for joy!” My hope in God was not in vain. My heart sings and cannot be silent — I will give God thanks forever! (See Psalm 30:12.)
If you enjoyed today’s meditation and blog post, Dorcas “Beth” Andrews writes a devotional blog called Deeper Roots. You can find her blog here: https://dbethandrews.wordpress.com/.