We’re meant to identify with Job. While the degree of our sufferings might not approach his, our suffering is still our suffering. And we especially connect with Job when we don’t know the why’s or wherefore’s of what we’re going through. And, while Job’s demands for an explanation from God often seem to cross a line when it comes to how one should address the God of the universe, who having suffered doesn’t, at some point, yearn for what Job yearns for? When in the thick of trials who doesn’t long for the good old days? The days when God watched over me.
And Job again took up His discourse, and said: “Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone upon my head, and by his light I walked through darkness, as I was in my prime, when the friendship of God was upon my tent.”
(Job 29:1-4 ESV)
Job’s done. Done with the suffering, done with the sorrow, done with the silence from heaven. He just wants to go back. Back to the days when the mornings began with sunshine instead of clouds. The days when God’s presence was almost palpable. The days of his prime. The days when everything going on in his life (read the rest of the chapter) said, God’s with me as an intimate, close companion. Back to the days when God watched over me.
Job longed for the days when he knew God was guarding him because life was going well. The days when Job knew God was paying attention because God prospered him. Being watched over by God had become equated with expecting a certain ease in return for living a life which was blameless, upright, God fearing, and turned away from evil (Job 1:1). Good people should be enjoying the good life. And the good life, so Job apparently thought, was evidence that a good God must be engaged.
But we know the rest of the story. We know that behind the scenes God had, in fact, restrained Satan’s hand (Job 1:12, 2:6). That, even in Job’s unimaginable season of suffering, God was watching, God was heeding, God was even protecting. That while Job couldn’t find a way to connect the dots between his righteousness and his wretchedness, God’s lamp was still present, His light still leading, and His friendship still in tact. God’s unchanging promises hadn’t changed, it was just that His purposes weren’t understood.
And that’s okay. ‘Cause God is god and we are not. His ways aren’t always our ways. His thoughts, a little higher than our thoughts. His purposes, never at odds with His promises.
So, while we might long for the good old days — those days that seemed clearer and were marked by God’s tangible favor — we shouldn’t think that in those days God was nearer just because the days were easier.
God is still watching over us. The Sovereign, though perhaps seeming somewhat silent (though never silent if we stay in His word), is still in control of the seasons. His steadfast love is still steadfast. His grace still sufficient. Our good still His long-game for His glory.
Rejoice, weary saint. God is still every much engaged in this season. Heeding, guarding, protecting, keeping.
Trust. Rest. And know that these are still the days when God watched over me.
By His grace. For His glory.