Since August 2021 (I.e. Juby’s birth month), reading the Bible has been, eh, rather hit and miss.
Take 550 days and probably 500 of them, I could have gone deeper but didn’t on account of feeling too stunned, silent or somewhat afraid of the idea God may not be near when I want Him to be.
Granted, this is a loaded sentiment and not the reason I’m writing this though the choice of intimacy is a category worth unpacking later on. For now, I want to take a SOAP Bible study approach to Job 23 where we find a defeated yet inquisitive protagonist doing what all of us should do when we’re going through hell or hard times in general…talking to/wrestling with God!
Reading this passage afresh and anew, I love how Job pairs his rawness with pure vulnerability. Starting in v. 2, Job calls his shot as a bitter vent only to disclose its motivation in the following lines:
“Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat!” (v. 3)
“I would know what he would answer me and understand what he would say to me.” (v. 5)
But then in v. 8, we see the insecurity, all too relatable but perfectly justifiable: “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him.”
Per my hesitation to press into divine, I find this transparency encouraging as in banner-like fashion, Job captures an all too familiar fear…
What if everything I’ve thought of you, hoped you would be isn’t there in times I need you the most? You are God! So by default, your nature cannot be conditional. You are unchanging (v. 13). You are just! So by virtue, you will cover me, help me…do something…right? Right !?!
Fast-forward down to v. 15-16 and we see another facet of Job’s skepticism:
“Therefore I am terrified at his presence; when I consider, I am in dread of him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me.”
So clearly, Job isn’t just scared of the prospect of God’s abandonment but God Himself! To me, this gives insight not only to the weight of Job’s despair but also to how Satan might sow seeds of distrust within the weary heart. I can only imagine Job’s inner voice desperately fighting off the daggers: I mean…He’s God. He can choose to do whatever He wants including not being true to me. I’ve been loyal but He’s not obligated to reciprocate.
See the danger here in how we can make God out to be a liar when we’re overwhelmed and bombarded? Or even worse, to make Him into a relative, subjective orphan-generating God whose love actually has a reach?
Oh, that we all may find that inner Job in us who though weak, walks in the meek…and is not so easily discouraged by the absence of goodness in the moment but stays hungry through healthy inquisition…
You are all I have, Lord God…so I will cling to my all. True, I may groan and shudder…but I will do those things in Your direction knowing at the very least, the present void is no match for a sovereign God trying me so I will come out as gold (v. 13).Tweet
Feel what you may, labor are you will…He will complete what He has appointed for you as many such things are in His mind.
And that is a bottom line for tonight, my friends: Be free to be still but don’t be silent in your darkness. Who knows? God may actually give you words so that you can argue with Him! All for the grand purpose of drawing near to His heart and knowing without a shadow of a doubt, everything will be okay.
And we get there…some way, somehow…together.
Cover photo creds: TheNIVBible