Job is looking for God. He searches, forward, backward, left, and right, yet he finds not his friend. Job is frustrated, but he is not without hope. Here is his consolation:
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,
and backward, but I do not perceive him;
9 on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
11 My foot has held fast to his steps;
I have kept his way and have not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food. ~Job 23:8-12
“He knows the way that I take.” Job trusts in God’s sovereignty and justice. Although he cannot find God, he knows that God cannot lose him. Not only that, but he trusts also that the fire of adversity is good for him saying, “I shall come out as gold.” Trust + faith = hope.
Furthermore, Job has a clean conscience. He maintains his innocence and he reminds his hearers of how precious and highly esteemed he has always regarded God’s Word. Job loves God’s Word. He places it above even his physical food. He may be confused and irritated, but he is not guilty or wishy-washy. You can take the boy from his comforts, but you can’t take the Comforter from the boy.
Job goes on to observe that man cannot force the hand of God (Job 23:13-17.) “What he desires, he does.” This is a fearful reality for Job, at least at this point. He’s been through so much already, after all, he fears what may happen next. Although he believes in and trusts his God to make him better through it, at first he is crippled by the fear of going through it in God’s absence, (remember – he can’t find God) but in the next breath he is terrified at the thought of God’s presence.
Job came not only to a contradiction, but to a wrong conclusion. What should have been a comfort, he began to see as something to be dreaded. Such are the inconsistencies exhibited in every Christian’s life.
At times, God is pleased to hide his face from even his most precious children. He calls us to deeper trust; stronger faith. He longs to give us unshakable hope in the midst of the darkest circumstances. I have no idea why. Surely there could have been another way, right? An easier, less painful way? But what he desires, he does. Just ask Jesus.
Whether we feel his presence of not, God draws us into a place where we must treasure his Word and hold fast to his promises.
It is tempting to become inconsistent and contradictory in our Christian walk when we cannot find Our Father in the middle of dark and undeserved circumstances. Some days the absence of God begins to look less dreadful than his all-consuming presence. But to whom shall we go?
Thankfully, although we cannot always find God, he can never lose us. He alone has the words of eternal life.