When Paul Simon started the song Sound of Silence with the words "Hello, darkness, my old friend," I'm fairly certain he had no idea he was paraphrasing Scripture.
And when the Sons of Korah ended the song that came to be known as Psalm 88 with the words "Darkness is my closest friend," they probably had no idea it would get put into Israel's hymnal.
And if you take the time to read all of Psalm 88, you may rightly wonder why it did.
Here are some highlights:
- v3 - I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death.
- v5 - I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care.
- v8 - You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them.
- v13 - But I cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Why, Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?
If you're like me, as you read this you keep waiting for a sharp right turn.
At the beginning of verse 13, you perk up and think, "Okay, here's where this is going to come around," but nope. Verse 18 ends the song in the same depressive mood it began in: "You have taken from me friend and neighbor — darkness is my closest friend."
Why is this in the Bible?!!?
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Truth is...Even though I don't know why this sad song is part of Scripture, I'm glad it is. It teaches me that it's okay to be completely honest when I'm praying. There is no need to sugarcoat my pain, confusion, anger, or grief. God's not going to be shocked by my honest emotion and doubt.
And that right there is a reason to praise him, even in the midst of my pain, confusion, anger, or grief.