In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. - Martin Luther King Jr.
I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone because your hand was on me. - Jeremiah 15:17
For the next four Sundays I will be bringing the messages at Christ Community Church. As I was preparing for the upcoming message entitled, Enter the Hero, I came across the above quote by MLK, Jr. and it seemed to touch something deep inside. I decided to stop and soak in it for a while. Immediately, it came to mind how at crucial points in my life I needed someone to step up for me (all of us come to these places in the epic). I am not speaking of those rare instances when we need protection from a physical attack. No, I am referring to those instances when your integrity is attacked, and you cannot speak up for yourself. It would be pointless to defend yourself. The deck has been stacked against you. You have been blindsided. In those instances, your only defense must come from your friends.
So you wait in expectation. There is silence. You are alone.
A friend or two eventually show up . . . after the tirade of untrue words have ripped through your soul like white hot shrapnel, and your attackers have dragged your name through the mud. Those who should have stood up, but instead went mute, explain why they did not; no sense of shame is visible or apology extended. Just a skewed, twisted, and unspoken logic that seems to say the libelous insults were necessary. Their silence is interpreted two ways: For the accusers the silence is validation for their venom; and for the accused the silence screams, You aren't worth fighting for or defending.
As I was writing this post, Sandy walked in and handed me a devotional and said, "Bill, read this." I did. Jeremiah's words immediately give us the God side when we feel deserted and alone. Look at the same situation from Jeremiah's point of view. Jeremiah is put in a place of circumstantial abandonment. But look how he interprets it -- it was God who had sent Jeremiah to the sidelines to be alone with him. For sure he was alone, but he was not lonely -- God's hand was on him. Both scenarios present the two-sided coin of God's sovereignty. Someone should have spoken up for Jeremiah, and the weeping prophet was broken by their silence. But God's man knew that in the down time God's hand was on him.
Jeremiah was in the calm that precedes a storm. God wasn't done with Jeremiah -- he was getting him ready for the next leg of the journey. The silence of friends can be golden moments!