July 23, 2014

Resisting God: the Silent Treatment

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

Pray continually.
—1 Thessalonians 5:17


Most of us don’t deliberately defy God very often. But that doesn’t mean we always accept his story line for our lives. Instead we simply find subtle ways to resist God’s working in our lives. For instance, one thing we try is to give God the silent treatment.

Some people are masters at giving others the silent treatment. When a conflict comes up in their family or workplace, they simply stop communicating. They clam up, hoping that their furious silence will convince people to see things their way. They can communicate something very clearly without saying a word. It may be effective, but it can also make everyone uncomfortable.

Sometimes we do that with God. We clam up, thinking that our silence will somehow convince him to keep his distance. We stop praying or serving, and whenever possible we find excuses to avoid Bible study or worship. And if we find we must engage in any of those activities, we make clear that we’re simply going through the motions: “All right, I’ll go to church—but you can’t make me sing!”

Of course, it’s silly to try to keep secrets from a God who knows everything, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try it.

Have you ever given God the silent treatment? How did it work for you?

Lord, keep us talking, even if we find ourselves unhappy with you. And help us to know that you know and love us—even when we are silent. In your precious name we pray. 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 www.squintforgod.com.

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