You have taken away my companions and loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend. Psalm 88:18 NLT
She was there—and then she was gone.
Izzy and Annabelle became friends in kindergarten. I taught them Language Arts in middle school when I first met them. In one of their composition papers, Izzy told the story. She and Annabelle were lifelong friends. Until one year when Annabelle didn’t return to school. Izzy didn’t know what had happened to her. She later found out Annabelle had moved to another state. Then, one school year, Annabelle returned. They acted as if she had never left. Their friendship picked up where it left off, and they remain good friends today.
I can’t relate. I have no lifelong friends. Dad preached, and we moved on average every two years. Knowing this would happen, I chose not to get close to anyone. I continued the tradition when I became a minister and the moves continued. Although I have many friends, I have no one person I’ve been friends with since my kindergarten days.
One friend I’ve had a few times—but one I certainly don’t want for a lifetime—is darkness. The psalmist didn’t want him either, but he came anyway. Desertion by others, along with afflictions, caused him to show up.
Darkness. Depression. Disappointment. Either name will do. He tends to hang around longer than I want and can show up more often than I’d like. A couple of times in my lifetime, he stayed much too long. No matter how often I told him to leave—that I didn’t want him as my friend—he wouldn’t budge. His companionship made me feel worse, not better. He wasn’t the type of friend I wanted, but he wanted to be my friend nevertheless.
Trials and difficulties pepper our lives. M. Scott Peck said it best: “Life is difficult.” A simple yet profound statement. If I don’t respond correctly to trials, my friend darkness will show up and make my experience darker. He’ll zap my strength, isolate me, and ruin every day.
Counseling, medicine, and friends may help, but only my best friend—yes I have one—can deliver me. Jesus is the only companion who will never leave us, who will always give us good advice through His Word, and who will walk with us through our periods of darkness while comforting and encouraging us along the way.
When darkness shows up, introduce him to the Light.
Tweetable: What do you do if the wrong friend shows up?
Prayer: Father, in our dark periods of life, we ask You to walk by our sides.