“I was mute and silent, I refrained even from good. And my sorrow grew worse…I have become mute, I do not open my mouth, because it is you who have done it. Remove your plague from me; because of the opposition of your hand I am perishing”
These words are painful. They hit the reader with sadness and little hope. The Psalm itself does not end on a happy note:
“Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again before I depart and am no more.”
Why all this talk of sorrow during this time of year, a time that should be joyous and celebratory? It’s safe to say that many will not feel the joy that should be felt during this Advent. Many will feel that deep turning feeling in their stomach, the beginning of depression, the weight in the center of their back.
Not all see the light.
I hope that Christians are on the lookout for people who fall into this category. Christians have the only message that can bring true joy, because Christians have the truth about;things. Christians know the reality on all sides. They know that those who suffer have at least part of the truth.
Sufferers know that this world is not moving the way that it should; they know this better than those who put on the old stiff upper lip.
Yet Christians know that there is another aspect to our reality. We know that there is redemption in this world, a world moving the wrong way. We know that Christ has come.
Do you remember the story of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist? The first chapter of Luke has this story (Luke 1:5-25). The angel Gabriel came to him, with a message from God that he would have a baby boy. Zechariah did not believe at first, because he and his wife were very old. So, Gabriel made Zechariah a mute until the birth of John the Baptist.
At John’s birth (Luke 1:57-66), Zechariah was then able to speak. And speak he did. He praised God at the birth of his son, his son who would be the forebear and great witness of our great Savior.
The Psalmist back in Psalm 39 did not end on a bright note. That Psalm is focused on a particular experience of pain. But there is hope; there is fulfillment of promises.
Zechariah, mute as the Psalmist was mute, for his own iniquity, received release from the chains of silence. And as soon as he felt this release, he praised our Savior—the God of heaven and earth.May the Lord let us see truth from all angles this Advent season, the season of the Incarnation of Grace and Truth.