Sometimes the Morning Comes Years Later


“Weeping may tarry for the night                                                                                but joy comes with the morning.”

Sometimes the morning comes years later.


For the first time in years. Joy. Maybe that’s not what it is. But joy is the word that kept raising its hand when I asked what was going on. Who knows in this world with so much more mystery than I ever bargained for? So many questions and so few good answers.

Over the past few years, we have experienced what the Bible calls trials. But more often than not it felt like our own personal hell. A dying daily without the relief of death and a resurrection.

The belly of a whale, if you will.

The brink of financial collapse.                                                                            Both parents going on ahead.                                                                     Vocational failure.                                                                                             Does our daughter have Aspergers?                                                                   Panic attacks.

Yesterday morning I was studying for a Sunday School lesson and something clicked. I’d been studying the verse in question for two weeks. I’d taught on it numerous times. I saw nothing new there. But I experienced warmth. The steady warmth of joy I once knew but had long forgotten.

And the passage was a command, not a promise. But warmth nonetheless.

This is not to say there have not been some very happy times in the last few years. Bethany and I’s marriage is the stuff of envy. We pine for time with the other. Our kids give us smiles miles wide. We have friendships we would not trade for riches untold. A home in our hometown we are always glad to return to. A loving extended family. And a church thick with kindness.

But the belly of the whale is a hard place. And the black nights seemed to never end. Sometimes. The weight of broken worlds hitherto unknown seemed to have been laid square upon our souls.

My soul.

Joy was lost in a sea of dreaded days. Every day off from work was clouded by the days coming. Every Friday evening felt like a putting off of the inevitable misery of Monday morning. Sunday night was just a looking over the edge into the mouth of hell itself.

Life couldn’t be afforded with me working. Quitting sounded like freedom but no option.

I know all that sounds extreme but I swear I felt like I was primitive camping in the valley of the shadow of death. Whether I was or not is really neither nor there, now isn’t it?

But then click.

Joy. Not the hand-raising kind. But the kind of joy you know you will take into the day ahead and make the bluest sky bluer. The autumn leaves flame bright like a thousand suns. The joy demanding all moments that follow must honor the moment when it finally broke through. The kind of joy that asks nothing crazy of you but rest. Finally rest. Rest like a reverse echo of the final rest where all be made new and we will see the King for all he is. And breathe in the deep satisfaction of all our sighed-out hopes.

It is true, joy comes with morning.                                                                       But more often than not, years later                                                                   After the soul’s dark night mourning                                                                    After the years level-best thieving                                                                      After the white-knuckle grieving.

5 thoughts on “Sometimes the Morning Comes Years Later

  1. Aggie ansell November 11, 2014 / 5:17 am

    Hi Matt
    Thanks so much for the way you write your thoughts on life, faith, community and relationships. I like that you don’t sugar coat anything. It encourages me as I too live with faith in Jesus.

  2. rsaenz November 11, 2014 / 6:12 am

    Thanks for the report from the front lines. Who can tell a friend, “Just wait, if you seek peace you’ll find it whether circumstances change or not”? That sort of comfort can only be conveyed by example, not by counsel.

  3. feeling full November 11, 2014 / 9:30 am

    Praise God for the click…and the rest. I’m always moved by your words, so thank you for sharing.

  4. feeling full November 11, 2014 / 9:30 am

    Praise God for the click…and the rest. I am always moved and buoyed by your words and honesty, so thank you.

  5. Lou Rossetti November 11, 2014 / 10:57 am

    After 18 months in the “belly of the whale” and experiencing the “dark night of the soul” my heart is now beginning to hear the “song in the night” spoken of. All of that is because the Lord says; “Yet I have not forgotten you. Behold I have you engraved in the palms of my hands.”

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