2 “O that I could be as I was in the months now gone, in the days when God watched over me, 3 when He caused his lamp to shine upon my head, and by his light I walked through darkness; 4 just as I was in my most productive time, when God’s intimate friendship was experienced in my tent, 5 when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me.”
Job’s pain over his loss is so tangible we can feel it. He remembers being in a position of prominence and favor and his temporary position of scorn and constant pain seemed to be handed out by a merciless God.
The heartache over loss can be paralyzing and discouraging. We can wonder if God abandoned us. Why did His blessing have to be removed? Was it Him or the blessing we were after? In a moment of nostalgia, we can think that the time which has gone before was better than the present. Yet in that former time, would we have had that perspective?
Surely when one has gone through a traumatic life event, innocence is gone and one can long to return to that simpler time with less strife. The pressure of living with consequences is significant and the desire for relief is a constant current, longing to pull us back to the blessing we knew before. When things are difficult, we crave ease. But God, our loving Father is the perfect parent – even when we do not get what we want. He knows what is best for us.
While the lessons learned in the midst of tragedy are a harsh tutor, there is a bright side often unseen. Priceless wisdom is gained and if we truly look to God in the storm, we will have a peace that is greater than the peace before which was in ignorance. Ignorance seems to be bliss, but if comfort is our highest goal, we miss out on being able to worship God in a deeper way when things are not “perfect”.
I have not experienced all of Job’s sorrows, yet I identify with this passage in so many ways. When tragedy strikes, we might not be as esteemed by man, but the opportunity to be closer to God is far greater. Grieving over loss of reputation seems kind of silly when we consider all of eternity. Instead of bitterness, a removed blessing can cause us to be grateful. Why were we so blessed? Perhaps there are things in my life now that I do not recognize as a blessing. Lamenting over the past has its place, but then so does surrendering to God in the present and looking to Him for our redemption.
God will restore us. While we wait, He is developing character worthy of bearing His Name. Job would certainly say He could not conceive of the blessings that God brought back into His life. He was a different person when He was restored than the one before. Transformation carries a cost we would likely not be willing to pay if we knew it ahead of time. Praise God for His wisdom and enablement when we are in the crucible of suffering and walking in times of blessing.
Lord, You are our portion. You are our delight. Thank You for all of the blessings in our lives and for Your precious promises. Thank You for redeeming every hardship and turning them into a blessing, after all.