• LES HENSON

The Shout for Joy

Les Henson

Psalm 65: 1-8

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion; and to you shall vows be performed, O you who answer prayer! To you all flesh shall come. When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us, you forgive our transgressions. Happy are those whom you choose and bring near to live in your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, your holy temple.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. By your[a] strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might. You silence the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples. Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

The night can be a stressful time. It can easily entrap us as we drift in and out of sleep, and experience the terrors of the night. When a video of our mind replays jumbled and distorted scenes from our life, causing us distress and fear, we can’t quite bring it into perspective amid the darkness of the night. I wrote the following poem four years ago to express something of this experience. It’s called The Darkness of the Night:


Fear comes in the darkness incapable of sleep the mind wanders possessed by darkening shadows  invading the darkness of the night.


Tossing and turning sighing and groaning the restless mind is unable to conquer fearful and disturbing thoughts.


All seems so bleak and daunting in the middle of the night no sense of hope  foreboding dreams prevail without relenting.


A sense of despondency and despair grips one like a clenched fist refusing to let go its hold  with unrelenting ease.


All appears so gloomy in the night yet the coming dawn brings hope shadows disperse with the early morning sun hope reborn and fears dissolved. . . . .  at least for the daylight hours.


Psalm 65:8a speaks of “the gateways of the morning”. It is a delightful phrase for it expresses hope for those who experience the darkness of the night. It envisages a holding on to the gateways of the morning, a looking forward to dawn as we experience the darkness and terrors of the long night. For dawn brings hope. It disperses the shadows and dissolves the fears of the night. So, as the early morning sun breaks through hope is reborn. Yet this hope is short-lived unless we also experience “the evening shout for joy”. Ultimately our hope is in the God of Zion, who answers prayers (verse 1) for “you answer us with deliverance” (vs 5).


PRAYER:


LORD, in your grace hear our prayer. Deliver us from the darkness and the terrors of the night. Grant that we may shout for joy in the evening. Amen.

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