For his anger endures but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
The associations we have with Easter are very various, but, for most of us, it represents more than anything else a great revulsion of feeling. The change from Good Friday to Easter Day is much more abrupt than any in the Christian year. It is like the sharp descent from the clear cold air of the Upper Alps into the rich and sunny plains of Italy, and it reminds us of earthly vicissitudes like that of the sovereign, who being imprisoned and expecting immediate execution, is placed by a sudden revolution on the throne of his ancestors. David's words do not exaggerate the Easter feeling. The words describe the experience of David on more than one occasion. He had known one peril and then great deliverance. And such a morning as the text tells of was that first Resurrection morning for the disciples. We may say they ought not to have been in such heaviness because Jesus had so plainly and repeatedly told them of what would take place. Of His death and resurrection He had told them again and again. And yet, when they saw Him dead upon the Cross they were filled with an almost unimaginable disappointment. How is this to be explained? Human nature is naturally an optimist. Face to face with forecasts of trouble, it resists their reality and their force, it makes the best of them it can. They will not see what they do not wish to see. And so it was with our Lord and His disciples. Hence Peter's word, "Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall not be unto Thee," — as though the prophecy of His Passion had been an utterance of morbid pessimism. And thus it was that when the last tragedy took place it found them unprepared. This was the heaviness which the first disciples had to endure. But what a joy came to them in the morning, as first on one and then on another there fell the rays of the rising Sun of Righteousness I And such a morning it will be when the Christian, having passed the gate of death, attains to a joyful resurrection. And ours will bear the pattern of our Lord's. True, for Him there was no such interval between death and resurrection as there must be for us: and for Him there was no corruption, whilst for us there will be. But at length soul and body shall be joined together again and for ever. That the soul survives the body might be inferred from the law of the conservation of force or energy in the physical universe. For is there no energy but that of the substances which are known to chemistry? Are not thought, will, love, truly energies: as much so as any that we can identify with chemical elements? But how and in what shape does this spiritual energy survive? It must be in some form strictly personal, or else our personality ceases to be, and the soul is virtually annihilated. Physical force exists independently of the subject to whose life it belongs. But not so with spiritual force. We have no knowledge of it apart from the person in whom it is found. Therefore if the soul exists at all it must retain its personality. And all this is not mere metaphysic, but it is a practical question for the heart. Who that has loved and lost some dear one does not know how intensely real this question is. And let none think that to be absorbed in the ocean of universal life is something more noble than to retain our personal life. It is not so. There can be no joy in the annihilation of personality. To suppress self is good, but that is quite another thing from the annihilation of personality. Hence the value of the truth of the resurrection of the body, since it asserts so emphatically our enduring personality. And thus all anxieties as to the recognition of friends are set at rest. Joy will come through such recognition, in the morning. Yes, but to whom? To those who have learned the moral and spiritual as well as the physical meaning of the resurrection. There are two nights which hang heavily in the life of men — that of sorrow and that of sin. But through Christ our Lord each of them may be followed by a morning of joy.
Parallel VersesKJV: For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.