Sunday, August 19, 2012

God the Lover: Meditations on Job's Hope

"But He is unique, and who can make Him change?
And whatever His soul desires, that He does.
For He performs what is appointed for me,
And many such things are with Him.
Therefore I am terrified at His presence;
When I consider this, I am afraid of Him.
For God made my heart weak, 
And the Almighty terrifies me;
Because I was not cut off from the presence of darkness,
And He did not hide deep darkness from my face."
Job 23:13-17

As suggested in my last post, God means to make us weak. And so it goes with Job. God's love is a terrifying one; because apparently He will do anything to make us holy. The anything includes "deep darkness" and debilitating forms of suffering. God not only takes good from Job, He gives him horror in its place, so that Job's suffering is not only the pain of loss. In addition, Job learns that he is alone in his terror. He has no comforter or sound counselor. His friends scold him, and his wife suggests suicide. I imagine she does so out of pity and compassion. And I also imagine Job seriously considered the option. He spends many words cursing the day of his birth and wishing, even praying, for his death. I speculate that if God took away even one of my children, that grief combined with the devil's power to tempt, would push me to that place. Job lost all of his children. He also lost his property, his income, and his health. He never, however, lost his faith (13:15-16, 19:25-27).

If nothing else, the book of Job is a testimony to the power of Christ to keep all that are given to Him (Jn 6:39). The fact that Job did not take his wife's advice to "curse God and die" is evidence of this. Beyond this, I'm still musing on the meaning of the narrative. Apparently God has something to prove to Satan, at Job's expense (See chapters 1 & 2). Like I said, God will do anything to make us holy. And like Job, I'm terrified of that kind of love; because that kind of love doesn't feel like love. It feels like hatred. It feels like God has marked us as His enemies and set us up as His targets (7:20). And apart from sovereign grace, what feels like hatred is believed to be hatred and so the former "believers" become apostates.

We'll see what happens with Job. I'm only through chapter 23.

"I was at ease, but He has shattered me; 
He also has taken me by the neck, and shaken me to pieces;
He has set me up for His target. . ."
Job 16:12

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