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Why we need a Silent Wednesday

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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This day in Holy Week is known as “Silent Wednesday.” That’s because the Gospels record no activities in our Lord’s life on this day. So far as we know, he spent the day at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany. He needed a day to rest, pray, and prepare for the monumental events of the next day, when he would establish the Lord’s Supper, wash his disciples’ feet, and sweat drops of blood in Gethsemane. Then he would be betrayed by Judas and arrested and tried illegally by the religious authorities.

What happened on Maundy Thursday would change the course of human history. So, our Lord spent this day preparing for that day. Here we must ask a question that bears repeating often: If Jesus needed time alone with God, how much more do we?

Our culture values activity, hard work, and results. It is the same for those who serve God in professional ministry. Consider this observation: “Perhaps the ministry was never busier than it is now. Hundreds of men are hoarse from continual speaking, and are wearied out with running here and running there. If things slow down, we evolve yet another type of meeting. And when this new and added wheel is spinning merrily with all the other wheels, there may be no spiritual outcome whatsoever, but there is a wind blowing in our faces; and we hot and sticky engineers have a comfortable feeling that something is going on.”

Is this a description of the strain and stress of ministry in these challenging days? Actually, these words were written by Arthur John Gossip in 1952. How much worse are things today?

There is nothing in this fallen world that fills the God-shaped emptiness in our souls. Somehow, we know that it is so. Even when we accomplish all that we dream of achieving, something is missing. As usual, C. S. Lewis gives voice to this truth more effectively than I can. Consider this paragraph from Mere Christianity:

“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy. I am not now speaking of what would be ordinarily called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or learned careers. I am speaking of the best ones. There is something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality. I think everyone knows what I mean. The wife may be a good wife, and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent, and chemistry may be a very interesting job: but something has evaded us.”

Our souls need a Silent Wednesday to reconnect with the “something” that is a Someone, the One who pursues us until we find him: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Will you accept your Father’s invitation today?