I don’t know about you, but sometimes long SILENCES scream in processing and people’s SPIRITUAL thoughts… Who knew how silence is the stronghold of the Spirit. God does.
I was at a BEAUTIFUL precious memorial service, a celebration of life, a huddle of hungry spirits holding onto hope even more strongly than what we could and can hold onto on earth… a support sea of people… a place I HAD the privilege of being present even if none of us wanted it under those circumstances. The stories shared were tremendous, and so was the silence… yes the silence…
When the young man stood up to speak about his dad, he looked both broken and determined… He sighed… He stood silent… He cried… We sat watching and trust me the people absorbed the silence… We surely needed to see what we knew, the sudden death of a dad, of a loved one, is a horrible shock to the system – there is NO sugar coating. The REALNESS is in the RAWNESS and God KNOWS THAT. If the widow could give her last mites to the service of the Lord, surely we could sit for a moment in silence to let this young man let God work him thru his grief.
We waited in prayers and I watched the pastor pray across the room, physically pray without ceasing while still in his chair, his hands directed towards the young man and even though he was silent to us, his lips were moving mightly, he sent the Spirit SuperSpeed soaring across that room – in soul moving style. I saw it. The young man sighed again, he needed that. We prayed for him. We didn’t need to fret, and he DID make it thru, speaking softly and mostly saying he was grateful, thankful for the time with his Dad… Even later I saw the young man smiling at the luncheon later – he made it thru. But during that tearful tense time, I felt the awkward silence that I should have felt as a human, AND I felt the tearfulness of brokenness of the Spirit… I felt the tearful moment was a time when Jesus cries with us.
So for the silent time I felt to be transported to be standing on the hill across from Jesus’s crucifixion, WAITING. Then another wait – like with the women with anointing spices but unable to perform their duty because it was the Sabbath, they WAITED (Luke 23:49, 55-56). We were being made to WAIT upon the situation. God’s timing, not ours, not mine. WAIT in obedience for the processing. We did.
I was also transported to be in the post-crucifixion room, listening to the processing of the disciples, oh how that long-night and day-long Sabbath must have been! The set aside time to be with the Lord. The brother of Jesus DID later write “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” – I wonder how many people he told that to, over and over again, in his own immediate processing after his big brother passed… If James was in that secreted away room, scared and shaken about his brother’s death, surely we could let him process.
But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. … The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
We were watching and being witness. And later the sister DID get up and help coordinate the situation with ease, as any of the women coming with the spices would have found that courage to serve. That Spirit which processes while we are still walking…
Why did Jesus spend SO MUCH time in the absence of the earthly view of Him? Not for Himself but for His people to process, that’s what I’ve heard from a former pastor of mine, that the awkward silence of Jesus gone gives EXTRA appreciation for Jesus being present.
Jesus never goes anywhere in our times of silence, it just takes a moment of stillness to find where to look.
Silence is STILL STILLNESS in the Spirit.
Like those Jesus tears poured out at the tomb of Lazarus for his friends who felt so broken and not knowing death is a window to forever life. Jesus also needs us to know death is NOT final…
God bless that son, that daughter, that family… God bless that Pastor who KNEW to put God’s Power over the situation FIRST… and God bless my friend who lost her husband, when she saw me she gripped my hands so tight I KNEW that God needed me there to be witness to Him holding His people. We hold what He holds dear, each other, often in silent tears. I bet we will fall silent in the moment we meet our Maker in Heaven, in processing. And then not be able to stop Spiriting our JOY of HIM in our PRAISE.