Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
June 3, 2012
The night will end and morning will come
If the Bible tells us anything it tells us that God hears the cries of his children. And that is good news when you are distressed. Trouble often seems like night so we speak of times that seem like the “dark night of the soul.”
In the midst of such dark nights we are prone to think that God has deserted us, that he does not care about our misery. Darkness can seem heavy and breathing laborious. But somehow we cling to the hope that morning will come. That hope, though weak, enables us “to make it through the night.”
Daylight is a welcome sight. It has always been so. That is how it was in the days of the prophet Jeremiah. Jerusalem had been destroyed. Most of the people were now exiles and slaves in a foreign land. Some were allowed to remain in Jerusalem where Jeremiah sought to help them understand the ways of the Lord.
Overwhelmed by sorrow, uprooted from their homeland, the Israelites had little hope for the future. They had disobeyed God. Now they were enduring God’s punishment for their sins. Most of us know from experience what that feels like.
Despite the stubbornness of the Jews, God did not abandon them. God never stopped loving them. In fact, just when they needed it the most, God gave them the precious gift of hope. This gift was “made flesh” in a man – the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah saw beyond the present suffering; he saw a future full of the goodness of God. The prophet saw that hope is greater than grief, that joy is greater than sorrow. Jeremiah knew that no matter how dark the night morning will come. And wisely the prophet linked “morning” with the grace of God.
Few greater visions of God are recorded in Holy Scripture than this one from the pen of the weeping prophet:
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
It was this vision that birthed the greatly beloved hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” This soul-stirring song often brings me to my knees in worship, especially the words, “All I have needed, Thy Hand hath provided.” I want to cry out for all to hear, “Yes, Lord, Yes! Glory!”
What a great truth for us to embrace and live by: God’s mercies are new every morning! No matter what pain or misfortune we endured during the night, God’s mercies are as sure as the morning light, and ours for the asking.
We may choose either the word “new” or “fresh” to describe his mercies. Both are beautiful words, though I prefer “fresh.”
Morning suggests breakfast. When we rise from a night’s rest, normally we feel renewed; we have fresh energy. The aroma of fresh coffee makes many of us glad to be alive.
Fresh bread smells so good and tastes delicious. Think of our disappointment if all we had for breakfast was day-old coffee and stale bread! No so God’s mercies; they are fresh every morning!
Stanley Jones was being shown to his room at a retreat center. His hostess was a cheerful Roman Catholic nun who provided him with towels and soap. Politely she asked if there was anything else he needed.
With a twinkle in his eye the famous evangelist replied, “More grace.”
Smiling, the alert and witty nun responded: “Help yourself, Brother Stanley, it’s all around you!”
She was right because God is faithful and he keeps His promises. Our troubles may weigh us down, but we need not stay down. Whenever we will, we can reach out and help ourselves to the mercies of God.
Faith helps us believe that God’s eye is “upon the sparrow,” and thus upon me, and you, and all his children. He cares about our sorrows. He hurts when we hurt. And every new morning can be a new beginning because his compassion never fails!
Shout it until you believe it with all your heart, mind and soul: “The night will end and morning will come! Yes it will! Yes!” And never forget that mercy is the reason why! + + +