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Previous: 25 Choices
to make in suffering
26. God’s non answer in our suffering
Evidently God’s non answer to Job, satisfied Job for he said, “ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know … Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes”, before any of his losses had been restored and still while he was sitting in the ash pile naked, and covered in sores. It was not in the restoration of his blessings that Job affirmed his faith in God. In his naked and natural state, he had been given a glimpse of the supernatural. It was God’s appearance and His voice that shook Job into acknowledgement, not actually what He said. The silent Father, the hidden One, the Someone out there who it seemed would not answer, spoke.
The detail of the former questions escaped Job’s mind for it did not matter now. God was there. The terrible consequences that had followed one on the other for Job in his life had faded when Job understood his place in the considerations of God. When Job refused to give up on God, despite the pleadings of all his accusers, he won the contest with them, and was privileged to see what he would have missed had he succumbed to their suggestions.
But it does not happen to us like it happened to Job. God’s revealing of Himself in the OT did not make his children stronger. They faithlessly complained and set boundaries for God and asked for tangible evidence of His presence, and He did respond and gave them miracles. Do we also make our faith contingent upon an evidence of His presence in our lives? Or are we able to express our love for Him, our desires of Him, and allow Him silence, or a miracle, whatever is His will? Unforthcoming visible proofs of God may in the end destroy faith, if we always expect His intervention. If we do not receive Divine intervention it requires more faithfulness to go forward in Him. It is hard when God does not reveal Himself in visible proofs. But it makes stronger faith.
If we rely only on manifestations of His good will for us, then we set ourselves a standard where God does not wish to be. In the strength of accepting disappointment, we keep ourselves protected against a permanent state of disappointment. We need to understand that we may not manipulate God to do our will, but rather we should position ourselves to do His will. Hebrews 11 gives lists of faithful saints who did not see the blessings that they had been promised, but they still died in expectation. It seems sometimes that the seen and real and natural world cannot relate to the unseen, unreal, unnatural supernatural world. But when we have a better balance in understanding God in His unseen, unreal, unnatural supernatural world, it may then become part of what comes natural to us, becoming in that sense more spiritually real to us. Through our faith in Him, the unseen world takes better shape, and we live for God, not for other people, “for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not see are eternal”, 2 Corinthians 4 18. To us now, and in the future, this unseen and invisible world is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Some faithful died martyrs, some were stoned, others were beheaded, all still with hope in something unseen, but delivered in hope “unto death for Jesus’ sake”. Job, seeing the supernatural, was again comforted and blessed. Is the circumstance of Job receiving the blessings again, and having it recorded for us, so that we might have a glimpse as well? The record of Job’s new understanding is a testimony to God, and to us, of the unseen, unreal, unnatural supernatural perspective, a foretaste of a spiritual future we can hardly grasp.
It is in those flashes of light, like this restoration of Job, and the resurrection of Jesus, we can see meaning for us. It is the glimpse of a golden future where there are the signs of God and the world He wants. When we see a good deed or a blessing done for us, or for another, we glimpse the presence of God. Those are the spiritual blessings which we can expect. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied, more than all men. But to have hope in the future, when this life is hard to grasp and full of unresolved misery, is the only way forward. If we have not that hope, we have no hope.