Only a Moment Away

Yael Eckstein  |  September 30, 2020

Yael Eckstein hugging a young girl and smiling.

For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning. — Psalm 30:5

In honor of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his lifework helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.

One of the greatest miracles in modern-day Israeli history was the quick and most unlikely victory of the Six-Day War in 1967. As soon as Egyptian President Abdel Nasser expelled the U.N. peacekeeping forces from the Sinai, it was clear that war was on the way and that Israel was greatly outnumbered and outgunned. The world was already preparing the obituary notices for the young state of Israel — that’s how impossible victory seemed. Yet, miraculously, Israel was able to wipe out every single Egyptian bomber before they even took flight. The war was won in less than a week. One rabbi living through these times explained the experience with a verse from Psalm 30: “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

This verse captures the way that God often works in our lives — suddenly. One moment, everything seems terrible and the next, everything is bright and sunny. I love how David captured this sentiment later on in the psalm with verse 11: “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”

If this is how God works, we should never give in to despair — salvation could be a moment away.

It doesn’t always seem like the answers are coming. Many times it seems like our prayers aren’t heard at all — nothing seems to be happening or changing in our lives. But that doesn’t mean that God is not at work. Just because we can’t see His hand moving the pieces doesn’t mean that He isn’t doing so. In one moment, it can all change because God has been working behind the scenes all along.

We see this best illustrated in the following story. A young man needed to split a boulder in half. He went out to accomplish his task with a sledgehammer, but no matter how hard he struck the rock, it would not crack. After hours of trying, the man had no more strength. But he continued to try day after day. One day, that boulder suddenly broke in two. The man was stunned; there had been no signs of cracks or damage on the outside. Everything had been happening on the inside. With each hit of the hammer, the integrity of the stone was compromised from within, so that suddenly, with that last blow, it forced a clean break.

Let’s remember that anything can change for us in just one instant. God is already at work behind the scenes. One night we may go to bed with sorrow but wake up with joy that lasts forever.

Your turn:

Share a moment when joy came suddenly to you in the midst of difficulties.