Lent Devotional: Job 23-24
by Jonathan Haefs
Job 23-24 (click here)
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; 9 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. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. (Job 23:8-10)
Where is God? Job cannot “sense” the presence of the Lord. It doesn’t matter what direction he moves in, what he does, what he says… it is as if God is absent. Every believer knows this feeling. In fact all people know this feeling… we call it “alone.” But, when one has known the presence of the Lord and all of a sudden if feels removed, then “alone” transformed into “forsaken.”
This is how Job feels. This is how we have all felt. But… Job recognizes that feelings do not equal reality.
God is not a feeling! So, when we cannot feel him that does not mean he is not there! It just means the feeling is not there. Job recognizes the truth that God is still present and God is still at work amidst all his suffering. He says God is working, but he cannot behold him. The problem is not God’s presence… the problem is our perception.
He is present, but we don’t perceive.
So what are we to do? When we cannot perceive God’s presence we believe he’s present. Job says, “He knows the way I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job cannot “feel” God, but he believes he is present, he knows, he sees, and he will save.
Times when we “feel” God’s presence are blessings indeed, but at the end of the day I would rather have the guarantee of his presence that I don’t perceive, than a feeling that turns out to be false.
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.