You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
– Psalm 30:11-12 (ESV)
As someone with very few dancing skills, I’ve often looked at the act of dancing from the sidelines, wondering just what it is that posesses humans to engage in the behavior. Jill and I were at Gruene Hall in Gruene, Texas last week (oldest dancehall in Texas, reportedly) listening to Two Tons of Steel and watching the patrons cut some major rugs. It was amazing how good some of them were, spinning and whirling each other around the floor. We ourselves danced a simple two step, which was neat as I always love dancing with my wife.
But dancing is not something that comes natural for me. Yet Psalm 30 talks about the transformation that God can bring in our lives, turning our mourning into dancing. Can you believe it? In the midst of grief, as the long forgotten sun rises on a new morning that you could not fortell, you can be dancing for joy. And it is a joy made deeper, fuller, and sparkling with a thankfulness and wisdom that would be impossible without the grief. Joy is the redemption of grief. And it makes us dance! Because, you know, we say it often enough but let this sink in: He loves us!
When one of his creations wakes up to joy after a dark night of the soul and begins dancing for joy, I believe the Lord beams. He laughs, he himself rejoices and exults over his beloved. You see, this is what he does, and this is why he died and rose again. It was for his glory and our joy.
Only he can do this. I know some who are passing through their own dark nights; people for whom the morning is a long-forgotten fable. I pray that soon they will be dancing for joy at their beautiful and timely redemption from God’s hand. I pray that when I too face the darkness I’ll remember.
Sackcloth is not our permanent garment.
Mourning will not last. It will be transformed to joyful laughter.
Darkness is only for a season. It cannot abide the Light, and melts away in the Presence of the Holy One.
If you’re a child of God, gladness and joy is your destiny.