Back in routine (sort of) after spending the latter part of last week back in B.C. with my grandkids (their parents were there too . . . I think). And, this morning, I’m partaking of Job and Jesus.
I’m keenly aware that there’s a different dynamic when reading Job while you’re feeling you are in a “valley” season. Not that you’d ever equate your circumstance with Job’s, but you do find yourself relating to so much of his “out loud” mental processing. And something Job says in one of his responses to Eliphaz particularly resonates. But then, later in my morning reading, something Jesus says graciously recalibrates.
“Behold, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive Him; 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. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” ~ Job
(Job 23:8-10 ESV)
Throughout this drama, Job’s wanting an audience with the Almighty. But he cant’ track Him down.
If He could just have a one-on-one with the Creator, Job would tell Him what is and what should be. But Job can’t seem to get both he and Him around the same table.
In fact, God’s not there when Job tries to go forward. And when Job looks back He’s not sensing God’s been there, either. Job looks to the left, and then to the right, and nothing–no presence. Though he knows God is active in the world, Job just doesn’t see Him active in his world. He cries out to heaven, but heaven’s silent.
Job’s feeling alone, terribly alone. The comforters in front of him are not really of much comfort. And the God above Him is so High He is beyond connecting with.
Sure, there’s the promise (at least I take it as a promise, though I suspect Job states it in a spirit of self-vindication). The promise that God is aware of the ways we take, even the valley paths. And that He uses such portions of the pilgrimage to continue His refining work in us so that, ultimately, for those who, through faith and by grace, keep on keepin’ on, gold will emerge. Precious promise. But still, no presence.
I get Job, at least to some degree. When you’re feeling the valley it’s easy to relate.
And then, I read in John 14. And Jesus’ words stir the soul and help it to recalibrate.
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. . . . And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love Him and manifest myself to Him. . . . If anyone loves me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” ~ Jesus
(John 14:16-18, 21b, 23 ESV)
Go forward, and know that God, through His indwelling Spirit, is there. Look back, and you see His presence in every time He has evidenced His unfailing commitment to never leave us nor forsake us. Look to the right, and to the left, and know the promise that, through the Third Person of our Triune God, that both Father and Son desire with great desire to come and make Their home with those who love Him. So affirms the Spirit of truth. And so is reality.
He is here, hallelujah! He is here, amen!
While we might relate to Job’s feeling of isolation, we’re revived when we acknowledge, believing wholeheartedly, that He is here. His Spirit having taken up permanent residence within us. A Helper in time of need . . . with us forever. A Deposit guaranteeing the outcome . . . the inheritance that awaits. An Intercessor on duty 24/7 . . . praying when we don’t know how to pray. A Comforter . . . ready to draw alongside and strengthen the weary pilgrim and to renew the inner man from the inside out.
Job and Jesus.
Feasting on manna from above.
By His grace. For His glory.
Have a few extra minutes? Click here and check out GVB singing “He is Here!”