There are two kinds of silence in this world – the kind you want, and the kind you don’t. The first is the one that all parents dream about. When your kids are young and sitting in the back seat of a car yelling at each other or asking a thousand questions, you know what it’s like to long for silence. When they fall asleep and there is nothing but the sound of their breathing to let you know they are still alive – it is a magical time. There are probably a hundred conversations you and your spouse need to have right now during this time, and yet, there you sit, in silence, because you know that these moments are few and far between as parents, and neither one of you is going to do anything to ruin them right now.
The other type of silence, is the kind that will drive you mad. I’m sure you’ve experienced it before. All alone in a dark home at night, you call out, and hear nothing in return. Walking through a dark season of life, racking your brain for answers, and getting none. Pleading with God for help with a difficult situation, begging Him to speak to you, and never hearing the sound of His voice. This kind of silence makes it known that you are alone, on your own to face whatever is in your way. It is quiet, and it is daunting. All of you wishes for just one voice. To hear someone laugh, or even someone else cry – but instead there is just a whole lot of nothing.
A few times in my life, I have had the unfortunate occurrence of being one of the “closest” family members following the funeral of a loved one. There is little like it in the world. After the service was over, the songs had been sung, the last story told – you go to the grave. There is nothing quite as lonely as being the last person standing over the place where you are leaving the person you love. This is when you realize, they won’t be waiting at the door when you get home. They wouldn’t answer the phone if you picked it up and called. This is when the ‘sound’ of their life, officially turns to silence, and it finally hits you that there is nothing that you can do about it.
This second silence, this lack of hope, is where Jesus’ followers are today. Nothing could have prepared them for what they saw and heard yesterday. The pain, the anguish, the cruelty, the desperation – the end. That is what today feels like for them. The end. The end of a movement, of a new beginning, of being a part of something bigger and better than themselves. All of it is gone now. Where they had once heard the sound of His voice, teaching them and comforting them, there is now nothing. No words. No stories. No prayers. No hope. No peace. Just nothing.
It is finished, He had said. As He hung on the cross and breathed His last, those were the words that had come from His lips. A statement that felt more like an indictment on all they had done and all they had believed, now more than ever before. They had followed Him. They had trusted Him. They had put their faith in Him. All that is gone now. Buried with Him in the grave. Just one things remains. Silence. And it is deafening.