Hope in Times of Pain
The book of Job is one of the most difficult portions of the Scriptures to read. It talks about affliction, or what we would call the dark night of the soul. While it wasn’t God who caused the misery of Job (it was the devil), but in His sovereign wisdom, He used it to be the platform to unveil Who He is to Job. In a very personal way, in the midst of pain, anguish, confusion, and doubt, God gave Job the greatest gift of life, that is to see His Face, and not die.
Job’s excruciating pain in his heart was deeper than the boils all over his body or the loss of his loved ones and the destruction of his possessions and his people. It was deeper because it was God’s Presence that seemed to be absent amidst all these. Questions and reasons and complaints and doubts flooded his mind and drowned his heart to numbness.
Where is God? I have been faithfully following Him and believed in Him fully and have given my offerings without fail.
I have been good to the people around me so why is God punishing me?
Where can I find refuge and comfort and healing and rest to my soul?
Job’s anguish pierces through our hearts. His words are raw but God understood him completely. It wasn’t his articulation that captured God’s ears but his desperation and intention. Perhaps, at some points in our lives, we have asked these questions. These are questions that reveal our humanity before Him and our frailty without Him. And like Job, it is during these moments of brokenness, humiliation, nakedness, and sorrows that He comes and reveals Who He really is to us.
Job had moments of revelations and realizations in the midst of his pain that eventually brought him to a place of hope, deliverance, freedom, and restoration. Responding to the searing accusations and crushing words of one of his friends he said:
“Oh, that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
That with an iron stylus and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!
As for me, I know that my Redeemer (Vindicator, Defender) lives, and
at the last, He will take His stand on the earth.
Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God.
Whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another.’
Job 19: 23-27 NASB
God is doing a deeper work within our hearts during the dark seasons of our soul. There is an unveiling of God’s face in the most painful stripping of our hearts. There’s a gift to behold and to embrace when we walk with our Shepherd through the valley of the shadow of death – His Presence. The deep works He is doing in us today is the key to the greater works He will do to us and through us in the next season.
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