God knows the way you take

Image Source: www.pixabay.com
Image Source: www.pixabay.com

Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: but he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. Job 23:8-12

Have you ever felt this way? Job was going through unbearable suffering, having lost everything, including his children and then his health. His wife had turned against him, and those who may have been his three closest friends had become for him miserable comforters. On top of all this, everyone was accusing him falsely of having done something very wicked, since they couldn't imagine this happening to a righteous man. So, after everything else, Job's own reputation was also a casualty of his suffering. He literally had nothing left except his life, and he wasn't too keen on enduring all this very much longer.

During all this, Job did the thing we all do: he looked for God. In particular, he was looking to God for answers. However, as Job says in the verses above, he couldn't find him. He looked everywhere for God, before him and behind him, to the right and to the left. But Job couldn't see him. He didn't understand why he was going through all this and he wasn't getting any answers.

It is at this point that so many people give up on God. They want God to give them answers on their own terms and on their time-table, and if he won't do it for them, then they are off. But not Job! What was different about Job? Why was it that instead of giving up on God, he even continued to hold fast to his commandments?

I think the reason is found in Job's declaration of God that "he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (10). Here was Job's confidence: though he didn't understand the way he was being led, God did! This doesn't mean that Job was ready to give up on seeking answers. But what kept his spirit from crumbling in on itself was his ability to rest in God's providence over him and the fact that God was not some disinterested party but was particularly interested in the details of his life. Our Lord Jesus would similarly exhort his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount to not give in to anxious worry over things like food and clothing because "your Heavenly Father knoweth that he have need of all these things" (Mt. 6:32).

But that was not all. He was not only convinced of God's all-pervasive providence, but also of his all-encompassing goodness. He believed that all things work together for good to them that love God (Rom. 8:28). Isn't that what he means when he says that "when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold"? It is not that he will merely come through, but he will come through like gold, with the dross melted off. His sufferings are for his good after all.

Let's be like Job. Let's be like the Christians the apostle Peter wrote to who were able to rejoice in their heavenly inheritance "though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:6-7). Dear suffering saint, you may be going through a terrible trial. Other people may not be able to understand. You may not be able to understand. But God knows the way that you are taking, and rest assured, in his good time and by his rich and abounding grace in Christ, you will come forth as gold.

By: Jeremiah Bass