Can you ever remember giving someone the silent treatment? Maybe when you were unhappy with how they treated you or when their words hurt you, you retreated into silence, ignoring them and the problem like it would just disappear? Maybe you aren’t the silent treatment giver, but are married to someone who gives it or are friends with one who utilizes this tactic… let me just say on either side of the fence, in my opinion, silence is not fun.
Silence puts people on alert. It causes people to sit, think, toil, ponder and analyze what may happen next, who will cause the bomb to explode and what ramifictions will come from all of it. It is stressful and in many ways tormenting under these circumstances. Granted, there are times when this mama’s ears enjoy some silence, so she can read her Bible, talk to her hubby without interupption or sip coffee in quiet, but I am suggesting times when someone diliberately isn’t speaking to you on purpose. #bahhumbug
While reflecting on how I have had the silence treatment inflicted on me, I stopped and thought about the period of time God was silent. Yes, the God of the universe chose to be silent. He did not speak for 400 years. The Old Testament ends with the prophets sharing what I call “wake up” calls and then nothing. There is a gap between the Old Testament and New Testament when nothing is recorded, because, well, God wasn’t talking. He was silent.
Every year, I ask God for one word for me to cling to, hold onto, live out and uphold through my next year. It is something that he laid on my heart to do two years ago as I was praying into the new year. My first word was “preparation.” I never knew the depths of what that would be and where I would be today as a result of “preparation” that year in my life, marriage and ministry. Last year, God gave me the word “captured.” To be captured by his love, captured by his grace, captured by the plans he had for our family- and boy were we ever. Doors that we weren’t expecting to open, opened! Avenues we didn’t plan to travel because of road blocks, removed! It was a remarkable journey through 2012. So, why do I bring those two words up?
As I was reading theologians perspectives and gleaning information about the years of silence, I felt like fireworks went off in my brain. The 400 years that God wasn’t talking, did not mean he wasn’t moving, that he wasn’t preparing for something or that he had his eyes of his children. You see, God was still orchestrating what was happening. He wasn’t removed from the throne or on vacation for 400 years. No – no – no! He was preparing his greatest outpouring of love, when the light of the world would step down into darkness.
“ Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, To a girl never having been married and a virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women!” Luke 1:26-28
God had to wait for the apponited time for his plan to come to pass. There were people he had purposed for such a time as this. The silence was not God sitting in a corner angry, mad and turning his back on his people, but instead it was him preparing the greatest outpouring of love on his people.
“And while they were there, the time came for her delivery, And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7
Mary was captured by the love of the Father that he sent in the form of a baby. Zachariah was captured by the love of the Father when his son was born and he named him John, knowing that he was the one to prepare the way of the Lord (Luke 1). What love the father has lavished on us, so we can be called his sons and daughters! Out of the silence, preparations were made so that love could come down into our darkness and shed light, so that we may be captured, not captive, of the love that God has for me and for you.
We sit on our couches and watch the news and think, “Why so much evil?” Lord, the shootings, the innocent lives taken, the broken families and the increase of kidnappings, sex slave rings – Lord, it is too much! Why? And while it is hard for our brains and hearts to sync and understand sometimes, especially when it is happening to us, if nothing bad happened, we would have no reason to run into the arms of our Father. We would have no reason to be captured by the love sent from heaven and born as a babe in a manger.
Maybe “evil” has visited your life through the death of a loved one, an unexpected tragedy, a hurt greater than you have ever experienced and it is carried in your heart and you say, “Why?” but there is just silence? While the hurt will be there and the longing for the loss to be gone will be carried in your heart, in that silence, God is preparing something, something that will capture the hearts of many at an appointed time. We may not see it for a long time coming, but it is coming. He is coming! May our eyes focus on what is yet to be….
Lord prepare our hearts to be captured by your love. Help us to keep our minds still and ease our anxiousness as we await your love that is coming again from heaven into this dark and broken world. May we not FOCUS on what is, but on what will be one day! May we wait with anticipation of your great plan revealed and carried out in our lives. Lord let us FOCUS on you and not on what this world has become. For you are you great and your plans are great, there is noone else like you.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35