Glimmers of Hope in Darkness
It has been said that reading the book of Job is kind of like walking through a long, dark cave. If you have read the book of Job before you know that God will make His presence powerfully known at the end of the book, but it is a long, dark, path to get there.
In the opening chapters, the curtains are "pulled back" as it were, and we find that God allows Satan to test Job's faith. Satan argues that the only reason Job serves God is because the Lord had made a hedge around Job and has blessed the work of his hands. But if God would take all that away from Job, he would surely curse Him.
As the story ensues, we find that Satan is permitted to test Job and virtually everything he has is taken from him.
- Job loses his livelihood (oxen, sheep, camels, servants).
- Job loses his children (imagine receiving that devastating news)
- Job loses his health (smote with boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head)
- Job is ridiculed by his wife ("Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!" Job 2:9)
- Job is accused of sin by his friends (they argue that the reason Job has experienced this suffering is because he has sinned in some way). For example, in Job 4:7-8, Eliphaz says, "Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright destroyed? According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it."
As you make the journey through this book it looks dark, discouraging, and hopeless for Job. But occasionally, there is a glimmer of hope and faith amid the darkness.
Consider Job's confident words of hope in the midst of suffering...
"Behold, I go forward but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; when He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him; He turns to the right, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." (Job 23:8-12)
We may not be in Job's exact circumstances, but times are dark and difficult in our world right now. We may be walking through our own "dark caves" at the moment and wondering when will this end? Some may ask, "Why is this happening?"
I don't have the answers to those questions but in the meantime, I can hold fast to my hope and faith in God. I can follow the footsteps of my Savior who has blazed the trail of endurance through suffering before me. I can hold fast to the commandments of the Lord knowing they are for my good and we can treasure the words of God like Job who understood the surpassing value of Scripture.
If we will hold fast to our hope and keep the faith, then on the other side of whatever trial you are going through now we will come forth as gold. Stronger and more faithful than we were before.
"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:6-7).
There are glimmers of hope and faith even in the darkest of times. Let Job's confidence and hope encourage you through whatever trial or hardship you may be facing today.