Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Silence of God - TuesdayTunes

I absolutely love this song.

I have been reflecting on the sermon Pastor Bob delivered on Sunday (see Dan's Sunday AM Remix), particularly the section on waiting on God timing, and this song has been in my head throughout that process. Sometimes the silence we hear and feel when we seek direction/guidance from God can be quite unnerving. This is particularly true in cases where we approach God with a heavy emotional burden. And that is why I love the conclusion of this song:
And the man of all sorrows, he never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that he bought
So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not 
Jesus understands what it is like to hear the silence of God. While in the Garden of Gethsemane, He pleaded for the Father to remove the cup of agony and pain he was about to experience from Him. (see Luke 22:39-46) Yes, we are told that an angel is sent to comfort Jesus, but the angel does not remove the suffering Jesus is encountering. Note that, after the angel appeared, Jesus then prayed more earnestly while still being in agony. "The aching still remained..."

Jesus then understood the silence of God in a way that we will never understand. While hanging on the Cross on Calvary, Jesus had His Father, whom He has been in communion with for all eternity past, turn his face from Him and pour out His wrath upon Jesus, as the sins of millions of people were cast upon Him and judged. In that moment of alienation, when Jesus Christ experienced the total silence of God, He cried out "Why have you forsaken me?" (see Matthew 27:45-46).

For years I always attributed this quote strictly as a natural response to that painful moment when Christ felt the absolutely foreign weight of sin cast down upon Him. However, in recent years, I have come to love the fact that Jesus was not merely responding to the moment, but was capturing it by quoting the beginning of a Psalm of David, which every Jew that surrounded Him would have instantly recognized and known how it progressed.

Read the following portions of Psalm 22 and see how Jesus was proclaiming His Deity and the faithfulness of God just prior to His death:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;

Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.


I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd,and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.

For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet -
I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog!

You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.


All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations even the one who could not keep himself alive.

Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.
I can definitely relate to the "Where are you God?" portions of this passage. However, we must recognize, like the Jews on the hill that day, that Jesus was pointing out that the rest of this Psalm was His to proclaim as well. He was enduring exactly what was prophesied by David centuries before, so that he could also lay claim to final portion where the Lord is given the praise and honor that is due Him. Jesus wasn't merely proclaiming that He was missing God's presence in that moment; He was also proclaiming that He understood that the final outcome was that God would hear His cry and that Jesus would have his rightful place of authority restored.

This is one of the reasons why, immediately prior to his last breath Jesus cried out "It is finished." He had accomplished the task set before Him. He had endured the pain of the crucifixion, as well as the pain of judgement and isolation from God. There was nothing left for Him to do.

So the challenge that I have, that I place to you, is to consider "How do I wait on God?" Do I wait on Him with a sense of dread that He will not respond or that He might give me an unclear response, or do I understand like David and Jesus that God is faithful and He will fulfill all His promises to me? I struggle with remembering that my life is but a vapor and the only amount of significance that it obtains has been given to me by God, so that i proclaim Him to those around me.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

The Silence of God by Andrew Peterson
It's enough to drive a man crazy; it'll break a man's faith
It's enough to make him wonder if he's ever been sane
When he's bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
And the heaven's only answer is the silence of God

It'll shake a man's timbers when he loses his heart
When he has to remember what broke him apart
This yoke may be easy, but this burden is not
When the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God

And if a man has got to listen to the voices of the mob
Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they've got
When they tell you all their troubles have been nailed up to that cross
Then what about the times when even followers get lost?
'Cause we all get lost sometimes...

There's a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold
And He's kneeling in the garden, as silent as a Stone
All His friends are sleeping and He's weeping all alone

And the man of all sorrows, he never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that he bought
So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
In the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God

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