Read Job 23
Focus on verse 2
Faith is most essential and most helpful when life doesn’t make sense. This is not to suggest that faith makes it easy. Nor is it to suggest that faith clears up the confusion. Job’s complaint to the Lord is a bitter complaint. He does not understand why he is being subjected to the suffering he is experiencing. He is confused by the silence of God as he cries out to Him, yet he continues to cling to his belief that God is just and that he will eventually be acquitted. This is perhaps the most severe test of one’s faith. It is one thing to trust God when we have the sense that God is in the midst of the trial with us…it is exponentially more difficult when it feels as though God has turned his back on us. The essence of faith in such a situation is the understanding that our feelings are not reliable. Just because it feels as though God has abandoned us does not negate the truth of His promise that He will never ever forsake us.
Jesus is perhaps the only human being who truly experienced being abandoned by the Father when He cried out “My God why have you forsaken me” as he hung on the cross. In that moment as He took on the corporate sin of humanity so that the Father could justly punish our sin the Father turned His back on the Son and laid the punishment that we deserve upon Jesus. I cannot begin to imagine what that moment must have been like for Jesus, or for God the Father. I can, however, make it my intention to live the remainder of my life in gratitude to Him for that act of love toward me.
The fact that I have been redeemed through the death and resurrection of Christ does not guarantee protection to me from the kind of disillusionment that Job experienced. We continue to live in a world affected by the same corrupt forces that nailed an innocent man (who also happened to be God) to a cruel Roman cross. The fact that redemption is now available though what Jesus has done for us does guarantee that in the midst of any trial we face we have a source of hope.
This hope is not unlike the hope that Job demonstrated a few chapters earlier when he utters “though He slay me, yet I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.” (Job 13:15)
One of the things I appreciate about the book of Job is that it seems to suggest that God is not offended at our honest complaints to Him when we feel confused in the midst of difficult circumstance. Perhaps more than anything God appreciates when we express ourselves honestly to Him. The pious answers of Jobs friends are in the final analysis rebuked rather sharply by God, whereas Job’s honest arguments are upheld. Perhaps we do best to honestly admit that there will continue to be some things about God that we just do not yet understand…things we will, at least for the moment, have to take by faith.