Psalm 88: My cry of desperation

Darkness is my only friend.

This is how Psalm 88 ends.

Unlike almost every other psalm, this one ends in darkness rather than hope. Prolonged darkness leads to desperation. This psalm is a desperate cry to God in the midst of pain and isolation.

But it is a cry to God.

This Psalm reminds us that God’s people are not immune to dark times. And it gives words to express how it feels to walk in darkness and how to cry out to God in the dark.

Timothy Keller recently shared truths about Psalm 88 with a congregation in London.

With great compassion, he walks through the psalmist’s experience of the outer darkness of life’s circumstances and the inner darkness of feeling abandoned, or apart from a sense of God’s presence.

Here are a few quotes from Keller’s sermon:

“Jesus Christ experienced darkness as His only friend so in your darkness you can know that Jesus is still your friend, he’s still there. Jesus was truly abandoned so that you will only feel abandoned and you can know that God is still there. He’s not going to abandon you…because [Jesus has] taken the penalty.”

“When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and he felt that darkness coming down on him and he knew that he had to die in order to save us, He stayed with us. He did not abandon us in His darkness, so why in the world do you think he would abandon you in yours now. He won’t do it.”

Hear those words again: You are not abandoned.

I love this quote that Keller shared from Michael Wilcock’s commentary on the Psalms:

“This darkness can happen to a believer, this Psalm says. It doesn’t mean you’re lost. This darkness can happen to someone who does not deserve it, after all it happened to Jesus. This doesn’t mean you’ve strayed. This darkness can happen at any time as long as this world lasts because only in the next world will such things be done away with. This darkness can happen without you knowing why, but there are answers, there is a purpose, and eventually you will know it.”

Darkness can happen to a believer.

If you are going through a dark time or know someone who is, I encourage you to watch or listen to Timothy Keller’s sermon on Psalm 88.

Darkness is not your only friend if you know Jesus.

On the cross, Jesus was abandoned by God so that you would never be abandoned. Jesus experienced darkness alone so that you would not.

The cross is your guarantee of God’s love, even in dark times.

Cry out to Him.

Timothy Keller, “How to Deal with Dark Times”, published October 29, 2018 by HTB Church in London

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