In 1998, the American car company Chrysler was acquired by Daimler-Benz of Germany and became known as Daimler-Chrysler. The joke goes like this: How do you pronounce Daimler-Chrysler in German? Answer: The Chrysler is silent.
It seems to me that God is the Silent Partner in the lives of many Christians. What do I mean? Here’s an example. We hear that medical science is healing people. Yet it’s more than this – God is healing people by means of medical science. This is a healthy spirituality. James 1:17 informs us that all good things are from the hand of God. Is medicine a good thing? Undoubtedly. Therefore it is from the hand of God. Yet, unfortunately, God is the all too Silent Partner in many people’s perspective. Even as the Chrysler of Daimler-Chrysler is unmentioned in German, so God goes unmentioned by many. And the Unmentioned eventually becomes the Unseen. But the Unseen is seen by those who walk by faith and not by sight. And those who walk in faith know God as the Active Partner and confess that God is healing them through His good gift of medicine and medical professionals.
“Come on, Tim, isn’t that a hyper-spirituality?” No – it’s a healthy spirituality. I am not willing to make God the Silent Partner. OK, sure, you could get really silly with this and become hyper-spiritual. Instead of saying, “I’m going to take my car to the mechanic,” you could say, “I am going to take my car so graciously supplied by God to the mechanic so mercifully provided by God.” Do that long enough and people won’t want to be around you! Yet the fear of the excess of the mention of God shouldn’t keep us from the opposite extreme of the absence of the acknowledgment of God’s hand in all good things.
Romans 1:19 says, “…because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” Paul then describes how God has made Himself known through the things He has made. It is not Creation that reveals God, it is God who reveals Himself through Creation. Creation is mute and dumb, like our hands. God uses Creation for sign language as we use our hands for sign language. My hands are not signing something to you, I am communicating with you through the signs I make with my hands. I am the author and my hands are my instrument. It is not that Creation speaks of God. God speaks through Creation. It is the hands of Creation we see, but the voice of God we hear. Medicine and medical professionals are the instruments the Creator uses to bless us. Let us not attribute to the creation what belongs to the Creator. (This is the essence of idolatry.)
God is all too often reduced to the Silent Partner, even in the lives of His people. This is illustrated by a story in 1 Samuel 4. Israel has gone to battle against the Philistines and they lost the battle. They are grief-stricken and wonder what’s gone wrong. They conclude that they were defeated because they lacked the blessing of God. To secure the blessing of God they send for the Ark of the Covenant. They send for it and say, “…that it may come among us and deliver us from the power of our enemies.” They were depending on “It” and not on “Him.” They viewed the Ark of the Covenant as a good-luck charm, a rabbit’s foot. They carried the Ark of the Covenant into battle and were defeated again. The Philistines even captured the Ark of the Covenant. In the battle with the Philistines, God became a Thing, an It. Israel depersonalized God and He became the Silenced Partner. Israel saw the Ark of the Covenant, but not the God of the Ark of the Covenant. They depersonalized God. He who was Unseen went Unmentioned because He was Unnoticed.
The Church is to notice God in all things. David says, “You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me… If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.” Psalm 139:5, 8-10
David sees God everywhere and makes notice of God in everything. God’s hand is before him and behind him, above him and below him, on him and surrounding him! David sees God in the heights and depths and in the lengths and widths, he even sees God in the dark. And He who is Seen is Mentioned. The Psalms tell us God is not the Silent Partner in David’s life.
David sees God as a Loud Partner, not a Silent Partner. Not obnoxiously loud like a three-year-old who gets on the platform after church and bangs on the cymbals of the drum set. In Christ, God is loud. And clear. And He is clearly the Author of all blessings in your life. James 1:17 says so and we should say no less. The Apostle Paul wants us to be like King David when he writes:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:18-21
Thank You, Jesus, for Your Spirit is before us and behind us, above us and below us, on us and within us.
May all of our eyes be open to the God who is behind us and before us and below us and above us and all around us.