LISTEN TO THE MUSIC • The Sound of Silence – 3/24/24

LISTEN TO THE MUSIC • The Sound of Silence – 3/24/24

How many times have you prayed, and it seemed as though God wasn’t listening? Maybe you waited and waited, asked friends to pray for you and with you, and yet God was silent, unresponsive. We love to hear about God’s power and might, his amazing response and how he has healed and rescued those who prayed. Yet maybe that hasn’t been your experience in the midst of crisis.

The Gospel of Mark cites a troubling story about John the Baptist. John was the cousin of Jesus, and he was the one chosen to prepare the way for the Messiah. He was an unconventional man who lived on locusts and honey, a New Testament hippie, and he didn’t mince words. 

When King Herod Antipas divorced his wife and married his brother’s wife, John told Herod it was unlawful and wrong. Herod’s “new” wife Herodias hated John and wanted to kill him. Herod, however, had a respectful fear of John, knowing he was a man of God, so he protected John, though he did have him arrested at his wife’s request.

John waited in jail. He was probably not too worried because he was God’s man, doing God’s work, and knew that a rescue was just a prayer away. John learned from the disciples about Jesus’ ministry, his healings, his miracles, yet John waited and waited. Though John was devout, he started to question his situation. He sent word to Jesus asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (Mt 11:2-3) He’s saying, Are you really the Messiah or not?” Jesus didn’t answer John’s question, he merely told the disciples to share with John all the amazing things God was doing, and to tell John “Blessed are those who don’t doubt me.” Really! That’s it!

Herod, while enjoying a drunken party, promised his wife’s daughter anything she wanted, just ask and it would be hers. Her mother instructed her to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter, and Herod had to follow through with his very public promise. John was executed! Though he fulfilled God’s purpose, he wasn’t rescued.

Jesus prayed that God would allow him to bypass the suffering of the cross, but Jesus submitted to God’s will, not his own will. He went to the cross, suffered and died for our sins. On the cross he cried out to God asking, “Why have you forsaken me?” Here we are 2000 years later, and everything that our faith depends on centers around that moment when God was silent. 

God always hears your prayers. Whether he responds in a mighty, supernatural way or if he is silent and things don’t go as you hoped and planned, you must trust God. You don’t have to understand “why” to trust God. You don’t have to understand the plan to trust God. He is present. God’s purpose will prevail. His ways are higher than ours, His thoughts are higher than ours. Trust his plan.

Scriptures: Mark 6:17-20; Matthew 11:2-6; Mark 6:27-28; Proverbs 19:21

Verses: (Pr 19:21) Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Questions: When have you prayed and waited, and God didn’t answer as you had hoped? How did you reconcile God’s goodness and love with your disappointment? Looking back, do you have any clarity as to why your prayer wasn’t answered? Is there any good that you see that came from the way things turned out? When have you prayed, and God answered in a clear and mighty way? Do you trust God no matter how things turn out?

Prayer: Dear God, you are rich in mercy and abounding in steadfast love (Ps 86:15). Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, your unfailing love will not be shaken or removed (Is 54:10). Help me to trust your plan in the good times and in life’s trials. Thank you for being my strength. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.

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