Today’s Bible reading is Job 23 and Luke 16.
Reading the Old Testament book of Job is kind of like walking through a long, dark cave. If you’ve read the book before, you know that God will make his presence powerfully known in the last few chapters, but it’s a long reading-trek to get there.
As you eavesdrop on the conversation between Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, you might feel like you’re just being led downhill, deeper and deeper into the cave. Why has tragedy turned Job’s world upside down? What did he or his family ever do to deserve this? And where is God?
Maybe, as you make your way through this long, winding cave with Job and his friends, you feel like giving up. It’s a difficult book to read. Why continue to wade through the dark waters of confusion, accusation, and despair?
But every once in a while, even in that long, dark cave, you catch a flicker of light. Listen…
“Behold, I go forward, but [God] 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.
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
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.” (23:8-12)
Flickers of faith in the darkest dark Job could never have imagined.
I can’t see God right now, but he knows exactly where I am.
Life is hard. Very, very hard, and I don’t know why.
How long will this trial last? I don’t know.
In the meantime, I’ll follow in his footsteps. I’ll stay on the path of righteousness. I won’t walk away from his commandments. I’ll treasure his word in my heart and depend on it more than my body depends on food.
And on the other side of this trial? I will come out as gold.
Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
I do not see him. But he knows exactly where I am. The way is hard and the darkness is heavy, but when he has tried me, I will come out as gold. For he has promised, and I believe.
There are glimmers of light, even in the darkest, most difficult-to-read books of the Bible. Don’t give up on reading them. The God who inspired them hasn’t given up on you and he can use them, even today, to help you see.