Psalm 30 is one of those psalms that seem to spring to new life and speak to us directly as we read and pray it through during this Covid crisis. It is a psalm of recovery, certainly, but of a chastened recovery, a recovery that hi-lights our utter dependence on God’s unfailing Love, rather than our own achievements or prosperity.
Everybody knows and loves verse 5 of this psalm:
For his wrath endureth but the twinkling of an eye, and in his pleasure is life: heaviness may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
We rightly take comfort in that verse, but the key verses, for understanding this psalm are the three that follow:
And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be removed: thou, Lord, of thy goodness hast made my hill so strong.
Thou didst turn thy face from me: and I was troubled.
Then cried I unto thee, O Lord: and gat me to my Lord right humbly.
It is only after that humble return that the psalmist can finally say:
Thou hast turned my heaviness into joy: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.
So in responding to this psalm I felt that I could very much make its phrases my own and turn it into a prayer for our time.
As usual you can hear me read the poem by pressing the ‘play’ button if it appears, or else by clicking on the title. For the other poems in my psalm series type the word ‘psalm’ into the search box on the right.
He gives us too, a voice to sing his praises,
So much the more because we were brought low
That we might know we have a God who raises
Up the lowly. Our old riches made us slow
To love you, slow to turn to you in praise
But sudden loss and crisis made us know
Our true dependence on your love. Our days
Of false security are gone, we fell
Into a pit of our own making. Raise
Us up again, each out of our own hell
And give us oil for ashes, joy for mourning
Restore us in your love and we will tell
Of how through our long night we heard your warning
And heeded you, and found your love again
How night withdrew and joy came in the morning.
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