The Silence of God

I have always been impressed with the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28. How could this woman face the silence of Jesus when her need was so great? How could she stand firm while the living God was standing right in front of her? She could touch Him. She knew He had the power and authority to heal her daughter because she calls Him Lord and addresses him as “Son of David”. Yet, Jesus remains silent.

What is extraordinary is how this unknown hero of the faith pushes into the silence. She ignores the words of the disciples. She forsakes the wisdom of humankind and pushes into the abyss of silence.

The words of Bruce Cockburn come to mind, “kick at the darkness until it bleeds light”. Without fear and with courage she looks behind the silence. Helmut Thielecke says, “the silence of God and of Jesus is not one of indifference. It is the silence of higher thoughts”.

The greatest silence in the history of humankind took place on Golgotha when God the Father remained silent as His Son cried out “my God, my God why have you forsaken me”. These words echoed and reverberated through the Kidron and Hinnom Valleys that surrounded Jerusalem. Slowly fading into deeper silence. But God lay hidden behind the silence planning the demise of Satan, overcoming the inability of the Temple to forgive sin and designing a plan to conquer sin and provide a way for humankind to know God personally. God raised His Son to life. A feat He planned to repeat for everyone who calls on the name of His Son.

Somehow, with eyes of faith, this Canaanite woman sees this God behind the silence as her only hope. She risks everything and pushes into the silence of God. She is rewarded. Her daughter is healed.

Craig Smith
I teach Biblical Studies at Carey and my faith in Christ is core to who I am and foundational for everything I do. I love playing hockey and I coach soccer.
  1. Paddy Ducklow
    Paddy Ducklow Reply
    Its funny in the not funny sense. I avoid these silences mightily and the silence of God to my quests and pleas causes me great angst. Some years ago, Carole and I went to a silent retreat led by Eugene and Jan Peterson. Can you imagine a greater waste of resources than to have the Petersons with you and to wait for them to speak and they don't? Carole also didn't speak to me and so I figured she was probably mad at me. Actually she was entering the silence that I so often avoid. "Oh," I thought. Thanks Craig.
  2. Laura Reply
    Thank You Craig, The Bruce C. quote and the picture you paint of a woman too needy to be shamed is lovely….heartwarming and humbling and encouraging all at once.

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