The silence of God

I really don’t believe God is ever silent.

It seems it would be too much of a contradiction. That God who created everything by speaking it into being could now withhold his voice and the world still go on. As if he could be silent without shutting down the visible universe itself.

I don’t believe God is ever silent, not God who showed us His flesh and blood self, humbly, spectacularly, heaven shatters earth. Not God who stopped all eternity in its tracks to make a new deal with heaven that ensured he would forever be Emmanuel, God with us, no compromise, no second thoughts, no doubts.

I don’t believe God is ever silent except for one half hour in heaven. Just after tears are wiped from our smudgy faces for the very last time, the prayers of us good saints come before God from the hand of an angel, all our tumbling words and pleas and groans. The angel takes the very fire of God and flings it to the earth and there is a noisy great thunderstorm, entirely un-missable, with thunder, lightning and an earthquake.

I don’t believe God is ever silent except maybe a pregnant pause designed to achieve a specific effect. Or he might take a breath or wait to give us time to say what we need to say (as if we needed the encouragement; or maybe we do?)

It was a long three days. Those who knew Jesus then did not know what we know now. There was a tomb flung open and discarded strips of linen cloth but still we read, “They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead”. So when he speaks to Mary by the tomb she does not recognise his voice, like Peter and the others in their boat when He calls, or the two on the Emmaus road talking talking, debating debating: turning over the Word of God.

I don’t believe God is ever silent but I do think he sometimes seems silent.

An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Luke 22.43-44

And the man of all sorrows

He never forgot

What sorrow is carried

By the hearts that he bought

Andrew Peterson


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