A Song On Heaven’s Silence

“Shasta’s Complaint” by Sarah Sparks

This song by Sarah Sparks uses Shasta’s story from The Horse and His Boy to explore the Christian’s experience of heaven’s silence. I have certainly had seasons where God seems silent – at the very moment when I felt I most needed a clear word. “Where were you, God, when I was alone and desperately needing your presence?”

Waves that beat upon the shore
They brought no peace
Somewhere else I must belong
Somewhere for me
Who was it left me there 
A boy scared and alone
No, I don't think you heard me calling
Always thought he must not know
Surely he would never leave me
Wouldn't leave me here alone

You tell me now that I was never on my own
Well pardon me, I don't remember you at all
'Cause with my back against the tomb I called you out
But I don't think I heard your answer, 
I don't think I heard a sound
I don't recall you in my anger
Or remember you around

Ouch. A part of me deeply resonates with this complaint. But the answer, in Job-like style, cuts even deeper.

But he answered, Who are you to question me?
Do you command the mountains or calm the raging sea?
For I am the current there to save your life
A man man may find his eye deceiving 
A fool holds on to trust his sight
A wise man knows that his own feeling may not with the truth align

Did you think that you had never seen my face?
But every moment you're alive you know my grace
For only death in this whole world is justly deserved
And you say that I never answered
Just because you have not heard
But you don't know yet how to listen 
Or to understand my words. 

My love, I care for you
I was the comfort you felt in the house of the dead
I drove from you beasts in the night
All of this I have done while you slept
All by my design
Every chapter and every word, I've written every line...

The experience of heaven’s silence is a real and painful one. It is mysterious and worthy of some sober lament. Yet how often have we not heard God because we have not yet truly learned how to listen? I know I have at times demanded a certain kind of narrow communication from God. But why should I limit him in this way? Or how many times have I conflated my feelings of God’s presence with the truth of it?

There is some real wisdom in this song that echoes a biblical theology of suffering and God’s care for his children. Plus, I love the banjo and harmonica, especially how they come in at 3:22. As such, I commend it to your playlists.

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