“We are never abandoned and we must seek to live faithfully even in the midst of our trials.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 17, 2021
If I go forward, he is not there; or backward, I cannot perceive him; on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him; I turn to the right, but I cannot see him. Job 23:8-9
In Job 23 we find some of the most honest and transparent words in the entire Bible. Rather than a song of praise celebrating the nearness of God, this is the lament of a broken man who is struggling to experience God in the midst of his pain. Job simply cannot pretend all is well. He is unable to find the strength to put on a happy face. He cries out from a place of desperation, sorrow, and fear. Yet in the two verses that follow, Job teaches us two profound truths about following God even when it is hard and he feels distant: we are never abandoned and we must seek to live faithfully even in the midst of our trials.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold” (Job 23:10).
Even when Job can’t sense God’s nearness, he rests in the confidence that he is never abandoned or forgotten. Though we may struggle at times to sense God’s direction and presence, he never struggles to find us or care for us. It is in him that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), and this is true whether we sense it or not.
Our emotions can be tricky and misleading. They tell us things that feel right in the moment, but may not actually be true! If you are in a season in which God feels distant, choose to speak truth over yourself, even if your heart tells you otherwise. Remember that God is with you (Isaiah 41:10), that he will never leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6), and that he loves you, even to the point of death (Romans 5:8).
“My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside” (Job 23:11).
The Christian life is often spoken of as a journey of faith. At times this journey brings great joy and delight, yet at times we are crippled with grief, sorrow, or doubt. In these moments Job reminds us that even when life is hard and painful we must continue on the journey!
One of the most helpful ways to navigate seasons of doubt and uncertainty is to live faithfully by what you know to be true, even if your emotions struggle to keep up. Commit yourself to a life of prayer and Scripture reading. Fellowship with other Christians and let the presence of Christ in them renew and refresh you. And above all, seek to focus less on your own needs and desires and instead love others just as we have been loved in Christ.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. (Francis of Assisi)
How can Job’s words and example encourage you or a loved one struggling on their journey of faith?
Matt Maher: Lord, I Need You
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