Psalm 30 is in the readings for this week, and it perfectly describes my heart this morning. I especially love verse eleven, for God truly does turn mourning into dancing and gird me with gladness in a way that leaves my heart singing with abandon:)
“Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me;
O Lord, be my helper.”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” NASB
In “The Message,” Eugene Peterson translates verses eleven and twelve beautifully.
“You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.”
The last line captures the way my heart feels this morning because I find myself struggling to thank God enough for this amazing feeling of freedom. Sin is a black mourning band or confining sackcloth when I cling to it and forget that the Holy Spirit is waiting for me to let it go so God can change that wild lament into a whirling dance.
Connecting with the Holy Spirit is indeed a whirling dance, and Eugene Peterson refers to His sweet indwelling as the Trinitarian dance. I love that dance and miss it when I let sin creep in and steal my joy. Sin does steal joy and fill my heart with guilt. I cannot dance with its weight upon my heart, or if I listen to those who would have me sit alone. Christ extends His loving hands, bidding me to come out on to the dance floor and join Him as He bursts into songs of praise and glorifies God, the Father.
Sin creeps in to steal the joy God has in mind if I allow Satan to convince me that there is nothing I can do about it. He’s right because there is nothing I can do about it except feel guilty and wear a black armband and cinch the sackcloth tightly if I try to handle temptation and sin without God. The great news is that Jesus loosens the sackcloth of sin that tightly entangles my heart. When I step out of it and toss it aside, He girds me with a gladness that will not let my heart be still.
The beauty of singing with abandon is that you don’t hear the naysayers around the dance floor. I’ve let others define and confine me my entire life, and I’m finding that living in God’s Spirit is a beautiful dance that comes naturally when I take Christ’s hand and let Him lead. It’s the most amazing dance ever, and it causes my heart to burst out into songs of thanksgiving and love for a God who loves me just as I am. God reminded me this morning that I always have a dance partner, so there is no need to sit on the sidelines and mourn any more:)