These are evidently the words of a person whose life was not devoid of heartache. David was a man well acquainted with the pains of life, but he also knew the joys that can follow the pain. His tears were not only wiped away; his tears were replaced by dancing. The word translated as “wailing” is the Hebrew word, “mispêd” which is an allusion to more than just shedding a few tears. It refers to a long, drawn out period of mourning in which uncountable tears are shed. David was in this state, but now his wailing turns to dancing.
The darkness lifted and in response his heart burst forth in singing praises to God. He couldn’t keep the joy that filled his heart to himself. He acknowledges the One who brought this turnaround in his state of mind. It is to God that he sings praises. The previous verses of this psalm reflected the heart of a person who was in deep distress. He called out to God and God heard his prayers. This is his response to the answer He received from God.
Life is characterized by highs and lows. We may desire to live a life that is not marked by pain, but as we have learnt on this journey, pain is as much a part of it as joy is. The good news for those who trust in God is that they never need to feel alone. We can call out to God in prayer. He hears our cries and answers us, even when we can barely whisper a prayer. He is God Almighty and has the power to change the most hopeless situations into occasions for joy and dancing. How hard is it to stand still when your heart is overflowing with joy!
David unashamedly expressed his joy by way of dancing and singing. He understood that this joy that now fills his heart is because of the mercy of God who turned his darkness into light. We can always know that no matter what we have to endure, there is joy that awaits us, if only we cling to God and cry out to Him, fully trusting that He will answer our prayers. No situation ever needs to be hopeless when we have the God of this universe on our side!