To my dismay, over the past week and a half as I’ve spent time in God’s Word and prayer, He has been silent. Each passing day has compounded my urgency and longing for Him. After spending hours in the Word and prayer today seeking His face and not finding Him, my desperation for Him climaxed with deep anguish and weeping. Late in the afternoon I felt a gentle nudge to go back to the book of Job. I quickly found myself, my circumstances and my heart in chapter 23.
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.” Job 23:8-9 [ESV]
My raw eyes burned wth tears once again as I read Job’s words that so clearly reflected the agony of my soul. Like Job, I have been desperately searching for Him in every direction and yet not finding Him. I intimately know the comfort of His presence, His voice and His song, which makes their perceived absence unbearable. With great anticipation I read on.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job 23:10 [ESV]
“But He knows the way I take.” Though Job could not find, see or perceive God, he was steadfastly confident that God was present and actively watching Him. I am reminded of the song, “His Eye is On the Sparrow.” Through my own misunderstanding I used to find false comfort in that song and the Scripture it is based on. I wrongly thought, “His eye is on me, so no evil will befall me.” Indeed, His eye is on the sparrow, and according to Matthew 10:29, not one of them will fall to the ground apart from Him. Not one will fall to the ground apart from Him, but they will all fall to the ground eventually.
In the same way, I am on the ground, broken and cleaving to the dust in search of Him. But what blessed assurance that I was not cast here apart from His watchful eye. There is great comfort in knowing His eye is on me as I strive to persevere through the many shadows of this dark valley. He knows the way that I take. He sees this desolate, lonely path I am on. Though I can’t see or find Him in this moment, He sees me urgently groping and searching for Him.
Job perceived God’s silence toward him as his being tested or tried, I do as well. He knew the silence would only be temporary, and as Job walked in obedience he knew he would “come out as gold.” His confidence that He would come out as gold was rooted in his confidence in God’s faithfulness to His Word, and the fact that Job was actively choosing to walk in obedience to His Word.
“My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.” Job 23:11-12 [ESV]
Inspired by Job’s confidence I, too, will continue to cling to the truths of His Word. I will continue to search for Him as a precious jewel, my relationship with Him being my most treasured possession. I will persevere in faith and obedience, longing to be found walking in His righteousness. I will fervently seek Him through His Word and prayer knowing His silence is only temporary, assured by Job that “I shall come out.”
He will once again make His face shine upon me, and He will again speak to my heart and sing His song over me in the night. In the meantime, I will cling to the promises of His Word as I urgently wait for Him. I will persevere through the silence, encouraged by the assurance of Job that “he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”
Artwork: Sarah Harmening