“If you don’t understand someone’s silence, then you’ll have the same difficulty understanding their words.”
This is a post today by Orlando Espinosa: “Someone’s Silence”
At first reading this makes no sense to me. Words are “noise” and silence is … “silence”! Words are the saying of things and silence is the NOT saying of things.
I had already opened and read this morning’s verses – not really got anything very much from them: “dogs, crumbs, faith, healed” – meandered away and did other stuff – came back – checked into WordPress – found Orlando’s “Someone’s Silence” at the top of the screen …
And then (Hiya GSHJ!) “saw” something I have never seen before in today’s verses:
“Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.” Matthew 15:21-28
This morning I see: Relationship birthing quiet words of a quiet connection and is now a bond from which many “healings” come forth.
Want to join me … ?
Jesus “got” the woman and her shouty words. The woman “got” Jesus’ refusal and silence. The disciples got none of it in that moment. The woman heard Jesus’ silence and “got it”. Jesus heard the woman’s shouty words and “got it”!
(and I missed all of that for many decades)
“Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David: my daughter …” in a shouty voice.
Just as we think the words “in the name of Jesus” endows our requests for intervention (intercession?) with a God-plated-obligation on Jesus to deliver through God – obviously. It’s just we do that “reverently” and in “worship” – we don’t shout nowadays (that would be disrespectful).
And when Jesus is “silent”?
We do many things. We pray louder and harder, we rope in more prayer warriors to add to the volume. We tell ourselves that the ways of the Lord are mysterious, everything is in His plan and timing. It is not for us to know, so He HAS answered our prayers (or may answer – in the decades or generations to come – eternity is just another of God’s mysteries we are not privy to). Or we may get cross and blame God for not listening – that the “obligation” remains unfulfilled … and many variants on all of that.
In the name of Jesus.
We have done our bit. Now deliver Son of God, Creator of the Universe, Oh Supreme Deity – deliver – and “now” would be good (because I know you can do if you really want to) – and time is a-ticking – and I have a life – and more “Kingdom Work” to do – so can we hurry it up here – in the name of Jesus we ask. Amen (obviously).
How soft can “shouty” be?
How shouty is “I am not worthy – and because of that – YOU OWE ME!” – no matter the volume (or reverence) of words – the frequency (or lack) of words – or even (and much more usually) the unspoken thought we would never voice to anyone (which means God doesn’t know either)?
But He did not answer her at all.
And just why were the disciples keen to get involved? To make “the problem” go away: wrong religion, wrong country, to not become unclean, to allow them to do their kingdom work in the way they understood it to be, to return to the status quo (and in control of who can and who cannot). Maybe.
But she came and knelt before him … with her own silence.
Eye contact. Possibly skin contact. Soul contact. A very deep connection. Nothing to lose anymore. Honest. Vulnerable. Sacred. In the moment. Open. No more “deliver” because I say you should. Just this:
Lord, help me.
And then connecting-deep-inside “words” – a language beyond “words” – the language of love.
How many people were healed that day? I see many healed that day. Because I think we always find what we are looking for – so the healing is not always the obvious “stuff” – the miracle stuff – the headline stuff. Just what we are looking for – for some – may never become more than “religion”, than “reverence”, than “I am not worthy”. May never become more than “sin” and “avoiding sin”. BUT what we look for becomes WHO we are and WHAT we are. And all that avoiding is Hard Work and Burden and Sacrifice!
And as Don said so beautifully yesterday …
“But if we find what we are looking for, wouldn’t it be a bad idea to be looking for sin?”
Yesterday’s post by Don Merritt, The Life Project: “We always find what we are looking for”
I see the language of love. I look for love.
What do you look for?