Darkness has come over Job in a way he doesn’t understand. The attack of the enemy has thoroughly wiped out everything he had going for him. As a man who was upstanding and righteous, it was probably hard to contemplate the why of it all. When we are attacked, when we go through hard times, it can be hard to try and make sense of it, to even rationally fathom what we are going through. We want to question, maybe even square-up with God and ask Him to explain, but most often in those times it seems like God has purposefully hidden Himself from us. How do we find Him? And if we can’t find Him, how do we question Him? Like Job, we seek God and wonder what it’s all about.
Losing Sight of Him
If only I knew how to find Him, so that I could go to His throne. I would plead my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would learn how He would answer me; and understand what He would say to me.Job 23:3-5 CSB
How far away God must’ve seemed to Job, especially in this moment.
At this time, the Law was in act. No one could simply approach the throne of God or His dwelling place. Yet Job longed to be near Him, to hear His words and seek His way of understanding. Job wanted answers, and only God could provide him with a full picture.
Even today when we know that God is only a prayer away, sometimes it feels like God is far from us. But as Job points out in verse 10: God knows our path. He pays careful attention to us and is never far from us.
We can go before Him and hear His voice, receive His instructions, and be granted understanding by Him. We can lay our cause before Him, bring our questions to Him, and be met with grace, mercy, and loving-kindness. We can receive assurance and meaning from Him.
There is a need within us to be drawn closer to the Father, to simply be in His presence and hear His words. In moments when we don’t understand, God does and by going to Him, we receive the same understanding. We seek Him and thankfully we have His promise that if we seek Him, we will find Him.
Behold, I go forward (to the east), but He is not there; I go backward (to the west), but I cannot perceive Him; To the left (north) He turns, but I cannot behold Him; He turns to the right hand (south), but I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I will come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous].Job 23:8-10 AMP
Often it seems like we’ve lost sight of God. We may not be sure which direction He is leading us or going, but we know that God has carefully considered our path and laid the way for it.
What do we do when we don’t know? We stick with what we do know. We continue in the way that God has taught us. We walk according to His Word and we continue seeking Him.
Even when we don’t see God we can still cling to Him. We can still trust and have faith in Him. When the darkness clears and we are able to see Him clearly once more, we’ll find ourselves closer to Him than we even knew or thought.
When we can’t see God, He still sees us. When He seems so far away, seemingly hidden from us, He still asks us if we will trust Him. If we will continue to seek Him, to hold on to Him.
My feet have carefully followed His steps; I have kept His ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have kept the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.Job 23:11-12 AMP
Give God Control
For He performs what is planned (appointed) for me, and He is mindful of many such things. Therefore I would be terrified at His presence; When I consider [all of this], I tremble in dread of Him. For God has made my heart faint, and the Almighty has terrified me, but I am not silenced by the darkness [of these woes that fell on me], Nor by the thick darkness which covers my face.Job 23:14-17 AMP
It can be scary letting God have complete control over ourselves and our lives. There are times when things will definitely not turn out how we expect them to. There will definitely be times when they turn out better than we could ever imagine. There will be times when we won’t ever know why God leads us left instead of right.
However, we do have the promise that He works all things for our good and that His plans for us are for our good and not for evil. God will direct our lives better than we ever could.
Christian Standard Bible states the beginning of verse 17 as: Yet I am not destroyed by the darkness…
These are strong words for a man who has experienced the attacking darkness with such force. Yet Job holds on to the hope that it is all for naught. He clings to Hope itself.
Are the circumstances horrible? Most definitely. Is Job suffering? Like no one else he knows. Would he have gone through it if he’d been given a choice? Probably not.
And yet it is the very circumstances he finds himself in which provides opportunity for Job to draw nearer to God as he so desperately wishes for. He is in the darkest part of his life, as far as we know, and he has no sense of direction or reasoning, but he is also leaning on God as never before. That right there is a win. He’s in the darkness but the darkness isn’t destroying him, it’s providing a gateway to strengthening his relationship with God. Job’s body was decaying, but his spirit was rising.
When we let God take control, when we follow His path for us, we will not be overcome.
Will it be scary? Yeah. There’s a reason God doesn’t lay out His whole plan for our life before us. Will the circumstances always be perfect? Definitely not. Will the reward be worth it? More than we could hope or dream or ask for.
I say that Job probably wouldn’t have gone through it if he’d been given a choice, but then I think if he’d viewed the ending outcome, maybe he would.
I think of Peter, Paul, John, and all the other apostles and believers who suffered so much, yet gained so much more. I also think of the darkest time in my life. I hated it then, I truly did. The pain was real, the loneliness was hard, extremely hard. Yet I look upon it in thanksgiving because it caused me to depend on God in a way I had not before. It tested me, stretched me, in a new way. Had I been given the choice before, would I have gone through it? Then-me says no. Now-me says yes.
God knows what we need before we do. He knows what it will take to draw us closer to Him. Growing isn’t comfortable. Not in the physical and not in the spiritual. Yet we all must do it.
It can be scary because we don’t understand, but that’s when we stop leaning on our own fallible, limited understanding and crawl onto God’s lap and trust His understanding. His plans might scare us, but that’s when we stop looking at what’s laid before us and keep our eyes on the One who holds us and loves us.
Even in the darkness when we cannot see or feel God, when we look to the north, the south, the east, and the west but can’t find Him, He still has ahold of us. He is still there, right on the edge of our blind spot.
When all is dark around us, we have to trust in Him and remember that He is in control and He will not let the enemy overcome us. He is our hope on the horizon, our reward and portion at the end of the struggle, and when it all clears away, we will find Him where He’s always been. Right beside us, carrying us through it all.
Will You let God take control?
Will you trust in His understanding? Will you choose to keep your eyes on Him, following what He’s given you when you can’t seem to find Him?
Will you answer His task, His question with a resounding, “Yes, Abba,”?
Will you use the darkness as an opportunity to settle and hear His voice calling to you? His voice, His Word, which draws you closer to Him?
Trust God and He will not let you go.
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