Read Psalm 30:6-12
6 When I was prosperous, I said,
“Nothing can stop me now!”
7 Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.
Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.
8 I cried out to you, O Lord.
I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,
9 “What will you gain if I die,
if I sink into the grave?
Can my dust praise you?
Can it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
Help me, O Lord.”
11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! (NLT)
It has been said that faith and life develop in three movements: orientation; disorientation; reorientation. We are settled in some way in life, embracing certain truths and perspectives. Then something happens to disturb our situation and we may feel lost or distressed at the changes besetting us. This leads to a new grasp of reality, a fresh perspective on faith and life.
While this may be an oversimplification and we can think of lots of exceptions, it is doubtless true when it comes to the Psalms. Our passage today is an example of how the psalmist describes his own journey from faith to doubt and back to faith again. A reminder to us that our faith journeys are in no way smooth and uninterrupted. If presented as a graph, our journey might be very up and down, though hopefully with a generally upward and onward direction.
Our discipleship will not be one unbroken series of delights, nor will it be unending gloom and despair. We will have times of standing on solid ground; times when the ground seems to shift; time when we discover firm footing again having learnt through our more insecure times what it means to trust God.
Such trust in solid ground, it seems, comes chiefly through that ground seeming to shift beneath our feet. We come to a new appreciation of the light only as we experience the darkness.