In the maddening rush of our daily lives, silence is one thing we often miss. But we also go through times when silence seems to bother us. Especially when we are desperate for an answer that doesn’t seem to come.
It was Saturday. There seemed to be an eerie calm in Jerusalem after an eventful Friday. Jesus was dead. He was buried in the tomb. The religious leaders had asked the governor Pilate to seal Jesus' tomb and provide guards for protection. They feared that the disciples might steal his body and claim that he never died. Pilate gave in to their demands.
The leaders were relieved. They had finally got rid of Jesus. The Roman authorities were proud of a job well done. Evil had won. Good had lost. God seemed silent.
The disciples of Jesus looked a sorry lot. They had all scattered away the moment Jesus was captured on Friday.
Let’s think about them for a moment. What would be going through their minds?
The disciples would be deeply grieved in their hearts; after all they witnessed their leader, their guru, their friend brutally murdered in the most barbaric way. They might also have felt a sense of uncertainty. They had pinned their hopes in Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. They expected him to establish a new kingdom, and free them from the Romans. But on Friday, they saw their hopes and dreams mercilessly crushed. Now all they could do was stare at an uncertain future. They were also gripped with fear. They could be the next targets, given their association with Jesus. Doubts crept in. They went into hiding.
We’ve all experienced this at some point of our lives. The grief of losing someone we loved at an unexpected time or seeing our dreams crumble or staring at the future with fear and doubts in our hearts. Everyday we hear of gut wrenching stories of human pain and suffering from around the world. It is only valid to ask along with the disciples,
“Why is God silent? Why does he allow this to happen? Does he feel my pain?” His silence seems deafening.
The Bible assures us that even in the darkest valleys of our lives, God is there. When we go through pain, we understand the reality of evil and its effects; be it sickness or greed, debts or stress, wars or rape. It makes us long for goodness, something that only God can provide. As a writer pointed out, water so much more refreshing when we’re really thirsty. Pain draws us closer to God and increases our dependence on him. It also gives us the opportunity to reach out to others in suffering. The most noble examples of human love and fellowship have been in times of greatest pain and distress.
It’s Saturday. Jesus is dead. The tomb is sealed. Soldiers are guarding. Disciples are mourning. God seems silent.
But then, it’s only Saturday. Sunday’s coming!