November 06, 2012

Learning to Squint

Hebrews 11:1-6

Without faith it is impossible to please God, because an-yone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him
—Hebrews 11:6


Following God often means squinting to find him. But learning to squint involves being willing to squint, and sometimes that can be the hardest part. After all, if God didn’t play so hard-to-get, he wouldn’t seem, well, so hard-to-get!

What we want is a co-dependent God. The term co-dependent is used to describe someone who takes responsibility for things that someone else should really do on their own. Sometimes people instinctively seek out others who are willing to help them hide their dysfunctions: to cover their drinking or pay their credit card bills or soothe the hurt feelings in the wake of their temper tantrums. At one level, it makes sense: who needs to grow up when friends will cover your immaturity?

I’d like God to be just co-dependent enough to save me from having to squint for him. After all, it’s hard to see my way in the fog. It would be nice just to be able to throw up my hands when the doubts or frustrations start to build.

In freeway fog, drivers who quit squinting will inevitably crash. The same is true of our search for God. Hebrews 11 reminds us that God “rewards those who earnestly seek him.” If I am to grow in my experience of God, I need to be willing to keep squinting and straining to look ahead.

Lord, forgive us when we want to follow you on our own terms. Help us to look to you to lead and guide us. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at

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