I Never Asked For This One Companion

What do you do when you can’t sleep because the weight of sorrow is squeezing the breath from your lungs?  You would think I’d have the remedy to this problem with having to walk through the “valley of the shadow of death” so many times over the last few years.  But tonight, another portion of my physical heart ceases to beat.

At this moment, I liken myself to one of the fearful disciples in the boat as the storm rages, (Luke 8:22-25).  My knuckles have become white as they try to hold tight to anything that seems stable…but there’s nothing to be found.  My fingers are left raw for losing my grip once again.

In this valley the wind and rain is coming down so hard, they have thrown me against the rocks.  The voice of hopelessness screams in the winds whistling, but I recall to my mind who I travel with.  I reach through the pain of my bruised heart and call to Hope – JESUS!!!!

I can’t make sense of the current storms of life.  They seem to be so senseless.  I do know it’s not only about my pain.  In the times I cry for my personal grief, I also find myself beginning to cry more for others who I know are hurting.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about my friend, Maurice Carter, who has just been taken from us, and far too young in my opinion.  He and I shared joys and laughed much, but there were also those times that I could see he was sorrowing over something, or someone.  This was one of our common bonds in our friendship.  We never gave details, we just knew.

I’ve realized something through the recent passing of my friend.  Those of us who have been handed the gifts of mercy and encouragement will often have sorrow as a traveling companion.  I used to despise her and see her as a weakness within myself.  Sorrow is not a fun friend along this journey, but her lessons are strengthening.  She gives me what I need to carry the things that bring us pain to the only One who can silence the voice of hopelessness and calm our storms.  This is where I find my lungs able to take in life-giving air again.

Death may invite sorrow to our side, but she is not to be feared.  The emotions brought with her are gifts to get us through the valley.  In the storms of life our hearts are tenderized.  We become aware of our inability to live alone and recognize our need for God.  Death can only win if we choose to run from the natural emotions that are meant to lead us to Life.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” – Psalm 23

I never asked for this one companion, but sorrow is not the only one who follows me, so does goodness and mercy!

When I find myself unable to sleep from the weight of sorrow, I cry, I call to God, and I wait for Him to wipe my tears as His presence calms my anxieties.  Then I choose to trust Him, and I rest.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy (another companion) comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5


2011, Keeping It Real.

Remembering my friend and the truths he taught and lived out.  Oh to see what he sees!


  1. Gary said,

    06/08/2011 at 11:50

    Hi Shannan, I have several thoughts, but they’re too long for this venue. So, I’ll just share that I’ve been impressed with Isaiah’s relationship with the Lord such that he continually refers to the Lord as “the Lord of Heaven’s armies”. So, when I read the 23rd Psalm’s first sentence, I read it as “the Lord of Heaven’s armies is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” The strength of that phrasing speaks volumes and gives me greater assurance that everything will be alright and I will ALWAYS be cared for because “the Lord of Heaven’s armies” IS my shepherd.

  2. Juliette said,

    06/08/2011 at 11:50

    I am so moved by your words. I have been able to see things through your eyes, at least as much as possible, as you go through life without your “true love”, and the pain of your loss. Your life’s new twists and emotional turns, so eloquently written in this blog, have taken me on my own quest for knowing God more intimately, for this I must thank you. Yet, another loss, Maurice, he ministered to my heart so much, I am speechless. I find myself thinking of Heaven like never before. I do see the reality of our Lord’s return all around me, there is no stopping His will. “Set your affection on things above, not on things of the earth” (Col. 3:2) No matter what happens, we are in the palm of His hands and we will meet together in Heaven one day soon! It’s a good place to be when we anticipate His return. If things here were so good we may not feel that way. It seems that some people just don’t need God (so they think) and that makes me sad. For the Christian, this is the worst that it gets, and for the unbeliever, this is the best that is gets. May the Lord continue His work through us to the end!

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