God’s silence is mysterious. Sometimes it fills us with fright and paralyzes us in the face of the legion of devils that squeezes out the life of the people. But without this silence of God, we can’t become men and women.
When God speaks all the time, people become deaf. They don’t hear the cry of the poor and of those who suffer. They become full; they no longer walk and hope. They don’t dare to do anything. They no longer endure.
God remains silent so that men and women may speak, protest, and struggle. God remains silent so that people may really become people. When God is silent and men and women cry, God cries in solidarity with them but doesn’t intervene. God waits for the shouts of protest.
Then God begins to speak again, but in dialogue with us. God shows us how the mountain goat casts away her newborn, who find their way on the rocks and don’t return looking for her milk, God teaches us that the wild mule is free, that it laughs at the noise of the city. It doesn’t hear the mule driver and looks for its own food. The buffalo refuses to spend his nights in a stable; the ostrich scoffs at the horse rider who can’t catch up with her; the horse neighs majestically and doesn’t turn away from the swords of war; the eagle flies to the highest mountaintop and takes in all the world with the sweep of his eyes. To all of these, God gave this strength and freedom.
Elsa Tamez, author of Bible of the Oppressed, was professor of biblical studies at the Seminario Biblico Latinoamericano in San Jose, Costa Rica, when this article appeared.