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Jesus ears were still ringing from the cacophony of the judicial courts.

The shouting of the crowd,

the shouting of the religious leaders,

the shouting of the Temple guards,

the Shouting of the Roman Guards,

the shouting of Pilate,

now all was silent.

All you could hear was distant chatter of people who had no idea what was happening.

The chatter of the Roman guards,

the weeping of a few,

ravens crowing,

birds chirping and wind blowing;

a silent ambience.

It was quiet now.

The Religious leaders and the criminals crucified next to him would shout and their words would echo in the silence like rocks thrown into caves. When I was a teenager I knew when my relationships were about to end. I knew they were about to end when our phone conversations would become silent. There was a song I used to listen to by Good Charlotte titled Say Anything, “here I am on the phone again, awkward silence is on the other end. I used to know the sound of a smile in your voice but right now all I feel is the pain of the fighting starting up again.” When I would sense the awkward silence in my relationships I would get resentful. “Here I am” I would say to myself, “trying my hardest to make this work and it seems like your not even trying. Say anything!!!” And you know what we do when we see it coming: we get defensive and start guarding our pride by not giving the relationship all we have so when it is all over no one will make fun of us. We do not want people knowing that we kept trying even in the silence. I think a lot of us feel this way with God. And if you have never felt this way before I can guarantee you that sooner or later you will know the feeling. When the conversations become silent.We feel like the silence means that our relationship with God is about to end. Maybe it means that this part of my life; faith, hope & love is about to end. It might not over yet but it sure as heck looks like it’s about to end.

And like Jesus while on the cross, all that breaks the silence is the doubt, skepticism and insults of those who do not believe.

But there is something important that I want us to realize. And please do not miss it. I want to say this with absolute clarity. I want each of you to remember this for as long as you live and repeat it to yourself when you hear the silence, when you feel the silence, when you look into the silence:

How we feel does not always reflect how things really are.

We all know an intelligent person who thinks of him or her self as unintelligent.

We all know a beautiful person who thinks of him or her self as ugly.

We all know an incredibly talented person who thinks of him or her self as untalented.

We have all had those conversations with people where they try to compliment us but we deny it because we do not “feel” it to be true. When in reality it could be very well true. [1]

Can you imagine how Jesus might have felt on the cross? In the silence?

But in the silence of the cross: God was there.

The Father was so close Jesus could have heard the heartbeat of God had the chasm of sin not been between. When He yelled “God why have you forsaken me?” Jesus was yelling into the silence! “Say anything!” But Jesus knew that how he felt did not reflect what was really happening. Had he actually believed how he felt was true he would have called upon legions of angels and brought himself down. He yelled because sometimes shouting how we feel is therapeutic, but He knew that how we feel does not always reflect how things really are.

The silence might feel like the awkward silence on the other end of a dying relationship but it could mean something else.

Sometimes the silence speaks.

Like in the silence of the cross, that is when God is closest. Separated by an ocean of sin we feel completely alone and unheard but if we could see the unseen we would see that our heads are pressed so close to the Fathers chest, so close to His heart, it is as if we were a boat bouncing on the waves of the sea.

We are scared of silence. I know I am. Whenever I preach I always ask people to take 30 seconds to pray in silence and I begin to get antsy about 15 second in because it feels like an eternity. I think Ian Cron got it right when he said, “It’s like the soft gaze of the mother looking at the sleeping infant; the tender gaze of the mother looking at the sleeping infant. In the silence that is what happens. We see God looking at us in a soft gaze…. You know you have reached spiritual maturity when you no longer have words to pray and you have been brought to silence. It is being with God and that is enough.”

For it is written:

it is good to wait quietly

for the salvation of thee Lord.

It is good for a man to bear the yoke

while he is young.

Let him sit alone in silence,

for the Lord has laid it on him.

Let him bury his face in the dust—

there may yet be hope.

Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,

and let him be filled with disgrace.

For no one is cast off

by the Lord forever.

Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,

so great is his unfailing love. (Lamentations 3:26-32 NIV, emphasis mine)

Sitting in stillness with God- not using words.

Sitting in silent trust.

All that will break the silence is the shouts of those who do not believe, but that is okay.

Let us join Christ in the silence of the cross.Let us join him knowing full well God is here.

[1] I know the opposite is true. Just because we feel good does not mean things are good. But I am specifically talking about our feelings with God. God has revealed to us how close He is and we need to trust it regardless of how we feel.

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