The silence of God can be a very loud, overpowering reality, particularly if you are an extrovert, fed by active engagement in relationships like a fire is fed by lighter fluid. In the silence, one feels more like the wood that is too green to actually burn, hoping the quick bright flame of the balls of newspaper will be be contagious, though they don’t turn out to be. The truth about green wood, however, is that just like a green banana, it isn’t thrown out for being premature, it just has to be set aside to season properly before it is ready to be consumed.
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Matt. 27:45-46
Darkness covered the land. It must have been still and silent or perhaps there were cries of mourning or of fear in that unexpected mid-day darkness. Jesus, for the first and only time, was indeed utterly alone, isolated, disenfranchised, a sheep without a shepherd, an orphan, an alien, rejected, despised, cut off and discarded. He felt it between bone and marrow. He was sweating blood.
But the Father had not actually discarded Him just as He never forsake Adam, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Job nor any in the family of Israel nor any grafted/adopted into the line. The darkness, the silence, the seeming absence was the necessary time of seasoning, of dough rising, of fine wine aging. For Jesus alone, the weight of sin and punishment crushed the very life out of Him. Because He bore the weight, we simply move through it, like the valley of the shadow of death.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Cor. 13:11-12
Some birthing labor and some mother’s must endure more than 24 hours of intense contractions, searing pain and wearying waiting. At the end, though, new life is birthed. On the other side of the valley of the shadow of death is the house of the Lord. Before the darkness of death and all its symptoms, I know God only in part, dimly, in shadows. Some of what I believe is more about my own reflection and image than an accurate knowledge of His. The air bubbles of my rising dough have to be pressed out so that I am left with full bread and not just hot air. In the meantime, I cannot speed the seasoning of my wood, the ripening of the green banana nor the rising of the dough. I have no choice but to trust that silence really is golden, or at least produces gold by burning off the contaminants and making it pure.