The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2,ESV)
How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. (Psalm 13:1-4 ESV)
I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the air had fled. I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger. (Jeremiah 4:23-26 ESV)
O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still… (Psalm 83:1 ESV)
O God of my praise, Do not be silent! (Psalm 109:1 ESV)
Silence. For four centuries there has been silence. For so many years there were shouts from mountain tops, firestorms from heaven and predictions of war. For so many years there had been comfort in knowing that even when God was angry, He was still there. Now there is silence, and it is deafening. Has He forgotten us? Is He gone forever? Will He ever speak to us again? A cry goes up from us, His people, longing to hear from Him. Something, anything, just answer us please! Let us know you can hear us.
While these words might reflect the plea of the nation of Israel over 2,000 years ago, they might as well be from people like us today. Silence fills our world, or at least we perceive it to. There is so much darkness, so much hurt, and it feels at times as though God has taken a back seat. He is not interested, He does not care, He has left us here to fend for ourselves. Take just a short look around the world and you will see the affects of His quiet. Millions are starving, millions more are fighting, and those who choose not to are left with out a home. People are being traded like currency, used and abused in ways that even our depraved state is not accepting of. Substances control us, buying and selling, making and using, all to cover up the deafening quiet of silence.
But there is more. We are killing each other. We cannot agree that all are equal no matter the color of our skin. We are inventing new reasons to fight each day, and there are no signs of stopping. We cannot even agree on the most fundamental of issues – Man or woman, what is marriage, when is a life a life? Things that were once so simple, now lead to questions, questions that demand answers, and yet there is silence.
It is always scarier when it is quiet in the dark. When you can’t see what’s in front of you, when you don’t know where or how to take the next step, when you cannot see from where the next potential danger will come, silence just makes it worse. Were there a sound you might be able to identify something, to make a guess, a plan of attack. But when there is both darkness and quiet, the anxiety builds with every moment. We are afraid, and we are alone – held captive by the the dark, cold, silence.
For hundreds of years there had been promised end to the darkness. Israel had waited patiently for a king to come and free them from their captivity. To restore them to their rightful place as God’s chosen ones, and triumphant over their enemies. They had been slaves, to so many things and so many people, but there had always been the promise of the One who would come to set them free, and reduce their enemies to dust – He was coming, soon, and all would be made right. The prophets had promised. They had proved themselves with signs. They had shouted of his pending arrival, of God’s judgment and salvation, so loudly there had been no doubt.
But then, came the quiet. No shouts, no signs, no answers. This changes everything. We have all been crying out, and yet there is only – silence.