This is going to come as a big surprise to you, but I like to talk. It was a blow, then, when this throat doctor told me some years ago I had to stop talking for three weeks! That was a long time ago but my memory is still fresh on this. I had what was known as a growth on one of my vocal cords, and he said it could do serious damage to the other vocal cord. His prescription: total voice rest! Ahhh!!! I argued with him about all the appointments and speaking engagements I had, and he told me the consequences of not stopping. So, I stopped. Now, a lot of my friends got a good laugh out of Ron not being able to talk. In fact, they loved my little Donald Duck magic slate that I carried around. It helped me communicate. But there was one person who didn’t laugh, and that was my wife. It was tough on her because she had to be my voice for so many people. Okay, it had been two weeks since I had spoken a word. My wife and I were in bed, we turned off the light, and suddenly she was startled by a sound next to her. It was me, breaking that long silence. Just long enough to say three little words, “I love you.” And then back to silence for one more week. But those three little words, that sounded so loud after so much silence, made her happy enough to cry.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Three Little Words Through the Silence.”
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 11, beginning with verse 1. It says, “A man named Lazarus was sick, he was from Bethany the village of Mary and her sister Martha. The sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord the one you love is sick.’ Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. Yet, when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where he was two more days.” Now they really needed to hear from Jesus, but all there was was this long silence. Does that sound familiar at all?
We know now, of course, that Jesus had something more powerful than a healing in mind. He was going to do a resurrection. Mary and Martha were going to be part of a far greater miracle than they could have ever dreamed. Jesus had to wait in order for that to happen. But in the meantime there is no word from Jesus, and it gets worse before it gets better – before it gets amazing.
Now it could be that you or someone you love is facing a hurting time right now and you have sent word to Jesus through prayer but there has been no response. I can just see Mary going to the window every few minutes and saying, “Where is Jesus? Has anybody seen Jesus?” Maybe you’ve been asking that, but He’s waiting because there are some mightier things He wants to do than just relieve the immediate distress. Meanwhile, you’re like my wife during my long silence. You haven’t heard His voice for a while, and you need to.
John 11:28 says, “After she had said this she went back and called her sister Mary aside, ‘The Teacher is here,'” she said, “and He is asking for you.” See, Jesus knows who’s hurting because He’s waiting. And He asks for the one who’s wounded by His silence, and that’s Mary. In essence Jesus breaks the silence with three words, “I love you.” Not, “Let Me explain it to you.” But a personal moment to reassure His friend that He still cares.
Well, maybe that’s what this program is all about today. The Lord wants to say to you, “I know you haven’t seen an answer yet; I know you’re wondering where I am. I’m working on something much bigger than you could imagine. But I know you’re hurting now.” And then He says, “There’s one thing I want you to know,” and out of God’s long silence He speaks those three incredible words, “I love you.” Now He won’t explain it. He won’t rush it. But at this very moment He wants to break into your pain and tell you how very much He loves you, whether you can feel it or not.
So, don’t let the wait, don’t let the silence of God cause you to drift into doubt or bitterness. Letting this hurt drive you from God will only increase your hurt and decrease your hope. Let it drive you to God instead. Remember, never doubt in the darkness what God has told you in the light. And listen, your Savior turns to you today to remind you that even during His long silence, He loves you so very much.