…makes a man (or woman?) healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Except for me.
In my case, this little adage might read more like this:
"Late to bed, early to rise
Makes one cranky, grumpy, with puffy eyes."
I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON.
Never have been – probably never will be.
So, it's no surprise that most mornings, the first thing that pops into my head is this sentiment:
"I do not wish to face this day."
Most days, there's no real reason to feel this way.
Most days, the calendar is free. There's no impending root canal, no looming tax appointment – most days I am relatively healthy, most days are sunny.
However, if you are a person beleaguered by anxiety, most days arrive with an aura of doom about them.
I hate my anxiety.
You see, anxiety does not require a REASON for the feelings it generates.
It doesn't need to make sense, it just needs to make fear.
Sure, there have been a few mornings when I received a phone call with unsettling or scary news. There have been days where something scheduled has brought legitimate anxiety.
I have been sick. There has been cloudy or rainy or snowy weather.
But, most days there is NO. GOOD. REASON.
Just a free-floating sense of dread – like I'm waking up just to wait for the phone call or the piece of mail or the "event" that I'm so afraid will happen – to happen.
Hence, most days I just want to roll over and go back to sleep. To escape reality.
Does this sound like a victorious Christian?
It doesn't to me.
But, unfortunately…it DOES sound like me.
When I think of the way that we believers are supposed to face the day, I think of this verse:
"This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."
A great verse, yes. But a verse that usually makes me feel guilty – because I am not rejoicing.
So, in an effort to assuage my sense of guilt, and in an effort to find out how I just might actually rejoice – I have decided to study this verse more closely.
First of all, who wrote this verse?
Interestingly enough, the writer of this psalm is anonymous.
I kinda like that idea.
It isn't David, or Solomon, or Moses, or Asaph – or one of the other named psalm writers.
It's just an unnamed person – a person just like you or me.
Second, that means that we don't know exactly when this psalm was written.
However, my research indicates that is was most likely written after the return from the Babylonian exile.
I find that interesting.
This was a psalm written after a terrible time in the history of the nation of Israel.
This was written by someone who had endured the pain of being forced from their homeland, taken against their will to a foreign and pagan nation, subjugated to harsh and difficult circumstances.
This was a person, in my opinion, who had experienced anxiety.
And now, this person had experienced a miraculous homecoming. An unexpected and exciting return to Israel. (Maybe the feeling could be compared to a POW being freed, and brought home to America after a war).
Joy, yes – unmitigated joy at newfound – RE-found – freedom.
So, finally this brings me to the issue of context.
What was the context of this verse?
Well, much of my research pointed out that this verse is often taken out of context. It is usually understood just like I have always understood it – referring to the new day. In other words, TODAY – the day that God has given us. And so, we should rejoice in it.
Yes, that's true, but Psalm 118 is actually talking about the work of God in Christ, and the future day when God will lay His foundation stone – the Lord Jesus – the Stone that will bring salvation.
So, let's read the two verses that precede Psalm 118:24:
"The stone the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing, and it is wonderful to see."
NOW…we read Psalm 118:24:
"THIS is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."
The day of the coming Messiah was a day that the nation of Israel had looked toward for centuries. And this psalmist, after recently returning from exile, perhaps had this future day of salvation on his mind like never before.
He had just experienced a foretaste of that future day of rescue.
Freed from an evil and powerful nation, returned to where he belonged, he looked deeper into his feelings of exultation.
He looked forward to the day of the Lord's ultimate salvation.
So, I'm looking at this verse in a whole new way.
"THIS is the day the LORD has made…"
Well, my friends, that day is Resurrection Day!
And that is truly a day to rejoice and be glad.
And also, because of that day, every other day you or I will ever face is forever changed.
There are no "bad" days – in the sense that nothing that ever happens now can affect us eternally.
Every day is clothed in the protection and the promise of salvation.
We were saved on THAT DAY from a world ruled by the evil one.
We were saved on THAT DAY from slavery to sin.
We were saved on THAT DAY from the fear and the power of death.
We were saved on THAT DAY to ensure a future homecoming to where we belong.
We were saved on THAT DAY to live forever in the Presence of God.
Ahhh, I'm smiling. Are you?
Sure, there are going to be days when the last thing I want to do is rejoice. I'm going to wake up in a bad mood, or life is going to be out of hand, or I might be plagued with sorrow or guilt or overwhelming anxiety.
(And this is the crucial crux of everything…)
…because of THAT day, each new day is a day to love and serve God.
Because of THAT day, each new day is a day to remember that I no longer belong to this world, I am no longer controlled by sin, I am no longer a prisoner of death.
This perspective radically changes my thinking.
Yes, I probably will wake up many mornings with this sentiment:
"I do not wish to face this day."
But, because of THAT day, I can now add this:
"But Lord, because of Your gift of salvation, I need not fear today or tomorrow. For I am securely wrapped in Your love, and I face nothing alone. Whom then, what then, shall I fear?"
And because of THAT day, every day that I wake up on this earth is just another day closer to the day when I wake up and see Him face-to-face.
Ahhh, I'm smiling.
God himself will be with them.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.
All these things are gone forever.
"And the one sitting on the throne said, 'Look, I am making everything new!... It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.'" (Revelation 21:5-6)
How does THAT DAY, the day of salvation, change your perspective on today?
(SIDENOTE: Today I am honored to be a guest on ENCOURAGE 24/7, a wonderful website hosted by Tracy. Please feel free to visit and read my post about "EN-couragement."
Linked today with:
Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Pamela at A SHELTERING TREE
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"