“Lord, why are you silent? Why are you always silent…?” cries Shusaku Endo in his book Silence. It’s a book detailing the story of a 17th century Catholic Jesuit who is trying to survive the shogunate persecution of the Roman Catholic Church in Japan.

The book details a twisted, heartbreaking journey of faith and doubt in which God is seemingly distant and disinterested from the very real danger of torture and death. Despite the desperate hopelessness of the book, one has to ask alongside Shusaku Endo: “Lord, why are you silent?”

God might seem like he’s silent – but perhaps it’s because He’s attentively listening.

Our human experience would suggest that God is silent. We cry out into the dark night and the empty room and the bleak season, and have no immediate response from the very pressing issues that threaten to overwhelm us. But this is not what Scripture describes God. Instead, our God heard the “groaning of the Israelites” (Ex. 6:5), he heard the prayers of Hezekiah, has said, “I have seen your tears” (2 Kings 20:5), and he “puts our tears in his bottle” (Psalm 56:8).

Even though God does not respond in the time and the place and in the way that we want Him to, he nonetheless listens attentively to our cries. And our cries are what he has most definitively responded to by giving his Son for us.

The reality is that even though God (in his mind-blowing self-control) chooses not to intervene in every tragedy and heart-break, his ultimate intervention and response on the cross does give us the confidence alongside Paul to say: “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril,” namely, sin and death, “and he will deliver us again” (2 Corinthians 1:10).

While the word that we want at the moment doesn’t seem to come, the first word (the Alpha) and the last word (the Omega) have been spoken by God – and it has been definitively spoken on the cross over us!

His ultimate victory catches up with every tragedy, every circumstance, and every hardship, ultimately. Even if it doesn’t come at the moment when we are most overcome by fear, the word of God, and all that he speaks over us, is able to penetrate into the deepest and darkest night — if we allow him to be the final word over it.

Ryan Lunde
Young Adults Pastor

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