LOOKING BACK ON YESTERDAY

Prayer: Lord, when my heart is heavy and burdened, help me to remember Your faithfulness and promises to me. Amen

Scripture: Weeping may last for a night, but a shout for joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5 AMP

Nearly 45 years ago I sat with a lump in my throat in a small country church where I grew up. I came that morning knowing I needed God in my life more than anything else in the world. So, as the final song was playing, I made my way to the front of the church and asked the pastor if I could be baptized. That morning I went into the water a lost soul and came out a new creation, and from that moment everything began to change.

The first few years as a follower of Christ were full of baby steps and steady growth, but I had yet to face a crisis that tested my resolve to fully trust the Lord. That test came several years later in the second semester of my fourth year of college. Money was very tight and school expensive. Nevertheless, I felt a strong prompting from the Lord to turn down a loan I had received to pay for my tuition and to trust God to provide. So with a queasy feeling in my stomach, I got on a Greyhound bus and headed back to school with only a few dollars in my pocket. The ten-hour ride seemed so much longer this time. I had crawled out on a limb of faith to obey God, but what if my belief in Him was just wishful thinking? What if I learned that God wasn’t really there after all, and my bold faith was just youthful foolishness? The first few days back at school were consumed with worry. As the deadline to pay my tuition approached, I found myself sitting in my room with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart. There was no relief in sight. A voice of doubt whispered in my ear, “You’ve put your trust in a God who isn’t real?”

What do we do in those moments of doubt and uncertainty when the path God is leading us down seems headed toward certain disaster? How do we remain steadfast when obedience puts us directly in the path of conflict or unpleasant consequences? How do we find the way of peace when our heart is full of doubts and fears?

In my moment of uncertainty, I did the only thing I could think of. I turned to God’s word and cried out to Him for an answer. It came in Psalm 30 verse 5.

“Weeping may last for a night, but a shout for joy comes in the morning.”

My eyes were already filled with tears, so I could relate to weeping. I had cried out to God for help, for a solution…for a way through this cloud of doubt. I wanted to believe He heard my prayers and would deliver me from this predicament, but what I got instead was a promise. Joy would come in the morning. Maybe not literally “in the morning,” but it would come.

I suddenly felt hope well up within me. I began to remember all the times over the past few years when God had proven Himself faithful. There had been many valleys and moments of doubt, but they were all followed by mountains of reassurance and joy. God had always brought me through dark places. Would He not do it again?

With those thoughts running through my mind, I picked up my guitar and in the quietness of my dorm room, began to sing:

Looking back on yesterday, O Lord Jesus, you made it all work out okay
And today…I want to cry for joy.

You knew all that I’d been through, yet You reach down and made me new
What can I do…but cry for joy?

I’m not going to wait ‘til’ tomorrow comes, to thank You for all You will
have done,
But I’m going to start today, I’ve got to find a way…to praise You.

In that moment the Spirit of God turned my tears of confusion into tears of joy. Nothing, not even having my dreams interrupted, could change the assurance I felt. God was indeed real, and He loved me. I felt His presence in that room and knew everything was going to be okay. No matter what happened in the days to come, I would always have Him.

In the years since that experience, I have often found myself singing that chorus. As a high school teacher, I have faced many dark moments of doubt and uncertainty. What I have learned is that sometimes conflict is unavoidable, especially for those of us who resolve to honor God. In those moments, when our faith is tested, we can rest assured that God will always provide a way. But let’s not wait until tomorrow comes to thank Him for what He will have done. Let’s start today, let’s find a way…to praise Him.

Copyright Mike Hicks. To connect with the author, email mhicks@ceai.org.

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