400 years of silence
I was in a church service recently where we sang an advent song that talked about "four hundred years of silence,” which referred to the time from the end of the prophetic books until the advent of Jesus. That phrase, which focuses on a season of waiting for God’s plan to unfold, impacted me in a way that I had not yet considered in the familiar story of the birth of Christ.
Waiting four hundred years for an event is not something that I can comprehend. I get impatient when my high speed internet connection is sluggish, and I have to wait 5 seconds instead of 1 for my Google search to show up. I can’t imagine waiting 400 years for a promised king who would bring salvation to an entire nation.
In Isaiah 9 the promise of this child-king who would reign forever and whose kingdom would be "established and upheld with justice” made this waiting seem even longer. Waiting for justice was a very significant part of the Christmas story. Waiting 400 years after a promise was given for a just ruler is one thing, but not hearing anything about this promised saviour must have made the time of waiting seem even more discouraging.
Fiona and Charina wait 7 years
This realization had me also consider those who are waiting for justice today. We recently received news that now 35.8 million people are living in slavery – 5 million more than the figures given in 2013. These people are waiting for justice in silence, many of them unaware groups like IJM are relentlessly working to free them.
I also thought about two young girls – Fiona and Charina – who were rescued from sex trafficking in Cebu in 2007 and had to wait until June of 2014 for justice when their traffickers were finally convicted of their crimes against them. That is 7 long years of waiting for justice.
"Justice will come!”
As someone who lives free from oppression I have a growing empathy for those who are waiting silently for justice. I wish there was a way for me (or us) to shout to those in this place of waiting that ‘justice will come!’ I wish I could say that it would come soon but I know from the biblical story that it did not happen quick enough for many.
However I do know, for those who are waiting for justice, the One who ultimately brought justice to earth is close to them. Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel and be with those who are waiting for justice today.