I’m sure many of us have been in situations where we feel blind. We strain our eyes to see the path ahead, walking in the little light that we have, and then we stumble over a rock or twist our ankle in a hole. We call out to God and hear no answer. We ask, “Why God? Why won’t you answer me? What have I done wrong?”
I began to focus on the book of Job last year when I was going through some really difficult emotional and spiritual struggles. God led me to the book called, “Disappointment with God” by Philip Yancy. In the last part of the book he looks at Job’s situation. After reading that book and studying Job’s life, I came to the conclusion that it’s O.K. to struggle. After all, our trials wouldn’t be trials if they weren’t hard.
I was then left with the question, “If it’s O.K. to struggle, how should I live in the middle of my struggles?” I listened to a message last Sunday by a pastor from our home church, Pastor David. David was speaking on the book of Job and his message on Sunday helped to answer my question. I realized that I find myself asking some of the same questions that Job and his friends asked. Many times, I cry out to God and long for him to answer me in a way that I understand. I feel so inadequate and wonder what God was thinking when he called me to be a missionary.
Many of us know the story of Job, so I’ll just sum it up quick. After Job began to go through an intense period of trials, his friends came and sat with him. They tried to comfort him. None of them, including Job, knew what was going on. Job was suffering. His children had died. He’d lost many of his belongings. He was sick and even his wife abandoned him, telling him to, “curse God and die”. She was speaking out of her grief and didn’t know how to deal with it.
Job’s friends insisted he must have sinned against God and God was punishing him. Job was at a loss. He felt abandoned and was in a really dark place.
Job 23:3 says, “If I only knew where to find him (God); if only I could go to his dwelling!” (NIV)
After Job’s friends falsely accused him, he didn’t focus on defending himself. Instead, he longed for the character of God. He realized that as he’s searching for God, he can’t always see him but he knows that God is always there.
Sometimes in the middle of a trial I feel more lost today than I did yesterday. I need to fall back on the things that I know to be true about God’s character. I want to say, “I don’t understand, yet I still believe.”
Doing this does not mean that God will remove me from the trial, but it does mean I can hold fast to what I know to be true about God’s character. It does not mean that I’m happy with the situation, but I know I can find peace and strength in God because he is the great Comforter and the Almighty God.
Pastor David then said, “I realize I’m in a relationship with the Almighty God, who cannot be put in a box, and it terrifies me.”
He goes on to read Job 23:17, “Darkness is all around me; thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere.” Then he shared the story of one night when he was walking with his son. His son said he couldn’t see, and David said it was alright and to hang onto his hand. As they were walking, David could tell when his son was scared or uncertain of his steps because his little hand would hold on even tighter.
He went on to share that even in the thick darkness, we shouldn’t give up, rather we should hang onto God’s hand even tighter. I want to cling tight to God’s and remember who He is. I want to remember that he is in control, loves me and will not leave me, even if it feels that he has.
When Job responded to his friends, he kept in mind the character of God. When he was confused and hurt and wanted to give up on life, he remembered God. When God spoke to him, he was overwhelmed by his Creator, the Lord over his life.
Many times, I’ve thought I could never be a Job. I’m a lot more like Job’s wife, quick to be overwhelmed with my situation and misery. Then God reminds me that I don’t have to be like Job. All I need to do is remember who God is and that he will meet me where I’m at. Even if I can do nothing else, I can cling to his hand in the darkness and uncertainty of my life.