WHEN GOD FEELS FAR AWAY
Gracious Father, I thank you for your grace that restores and forgives. Work your will in me today.
Read JOB 23
23 Then Job replied:
2 “Even today my complaint is bitter;
his hand[a] is heavy in spite of[b] my groaning.
3 If only I knew where to find him;
if only I could go to his dwelling!
4 I would state my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would find out what he would answer me,
and consider what he would say to me.
6 Would he vigorously oppose me?
No, he would not press charges against me.
7 There the upright can establish their innocence before him,
and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.
8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
He does whatever he pleases.
14 He carries out his decree against me,
and many such plans he still has in store.
15 That is why I am terrified before him;
when I think of all this, I fear him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
by the thick darkness that covers my face.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you feel close to God or far from him today? Acknowledge where you are with him.
Have you ever felt the kind of desperation Job expresses in this chapter? We all have seasons when God feels far away, and our prayers seem like they are just hitting the ceiling.
What a contrast from Psalm 139, when the psalmist talks of the impossibility of escaping from God’s presence and the futility of trying to hide from him. When we don’t want him, he is everywhere; when we do, he is apparently nowhere to be found. And yet, in verse 10, Job reminds himself of the truth: ‘But he knows the way that I take.’ Even when we can’t seem to find God, we are never out of sight to him.
God knew everything that was going on with Job. If you know the book, you’ll know that at the end God shows up in all his glory and reveals that he has been listening to every word Job and his friends have said. The same is true for us. Even when we can’t see him or detect his presence, he is always with us, and his plan is to bring us forth as gold (v 10).
It can be hard sitting, like Job, waiting in the silence, but one day our waiting will be over. Christ will return to live with us, and we will never have to search for him again (Revelation 21:2–4). Thank him for that coming day.
All-powerful God, your ways are right, but they may not always be pleasant. I need your special grace to see them through.
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