In 2016, director Martin Scorsese released a movie titled “Silence.” It tells the story of two 17th century Portuguese Jesuit priest who travel to Japan to find their lost mentor who went missing while doing mission work. Throughout the film the two men suffer immensely and pray to God for deliverance. The pressing question of the film is, “Why is God silent in response to our prayers?”
While we may be hesitant to confess such doubts, even the most faithful disciples struggle with these thoughts. It isn’t that we expect God to whisper in our ear, but hope that he would act to save us from our distress—and as quickly as possible! Yet, in our moments of weakness, we often forget that God isn’t our bellhop but our King; our prayers are petitions before the throne, not pennies in a cosmic coke machine. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean God’s majesty distances him from our dark days. Nothing delights God more than to deliver the righteous from wicked circumstances.
Psalm 50 strikes the perfect balance between these two principles:
“The Mighty One, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
Our God comes; he does not keep silence;
before him is a devouring fire,
around him a mighty tempest.
He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that he may judge his people” (1-6)
The Psalm begins by calling our minds to behold the majesty of God: He is the king who summons the sun. The cosmic perfection of beauty who radiates from his throne in unimaginable wonder. Surrounded by fire, sovereign in power—this is the God who speaks into our struggles. It is only when we see the Lord in this way—the awe-inspiring King Creator—that we are ready to make our request for deliverance.
Once our eyes are opened to his greatness, we then are prepared for his salvation:
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (v. 14-15)
He delivers for our good and the sake of His glory. Preeminent in the purpose of the Lord is glorification of his name; through our salvation comes his magnification. Therefore, we can trust, with great confidence, that God will not always be silent. He will speak and he will save—for He will never allow his glory to die.