The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38)
One. Two. Three times I called his name. Nothing. My irritation swelled. Taking a deep breath, I tried a fourth time to get my son’s attention, but was met with more silence. My voice was no match for his LEGOs. Immersed in imaginative play, he couldn’t even hear his own name. His silence—intentional or not—left me feeling unseen and unimportant.
Like my son, Jesus’ quiet was misinterpreted. As Jesus slept through the squall, waves crashing into the boat, the disciples grew irritated by his lack of response. Finally, they woke him, asking, “Don’t you care?”
In our humanness, we often interpret a lack of response as a lack of caring. Our expectation is that listening requires a verbal response—a tangible indication that we have been heard. But silence? Silence is unsettling. Silence leaves space for assumption to fill in the gaps.
I have often wondered why (and how) Jesus remained asleep. Was he trying to teach them a lesson or had the previous day’s crowd been so physically and emotionally draining that not even a storm could get his head off the pillow? I don’t have a solid answer for why, but here’s what I do know: Jesus was there. He was with them in the storm. And perhaps he remained silent because his presence was all the answer they needed.
Don’t misinterpret God’s silence as a lack of caring.
Sarah E. Westfall is an author, speaker, and graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University. She resides in Indiana with her husband, Ben, and their four boys. She really wants a nap.
© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.