Then there are the times when no black print stands out against white page, shouting your answer, when in the gray place you can’t “sense in your bones” any explanation, or even a clue about which way to go.
The seeming eons of not knowing stretch out bleak. The situation swirls with no solution. Questions, questions, questions get no answers. Life’s sky only darkens.
I finally get back to it, to reading right through, all together, the whole of that uncomfortable book of Job.
Yes, it’s full of wisdom and truth, but the wisdom is mostly painful and the truth-telling mostly cruel, much of it composed by false friends who hang around to blame and argue, rather than to hold a trembling hand.
One thing about the book that gets me is its dragged out length! You think you should by now have reached the turning point and the conclusion, and behold! So many chapters still lie ahead! Then the misery and the badgering, like punches on bruises, only grow more vindictive as the account proceeds.
And isn’t that the way of it, more often than not, when you can’t find answers in your own life?
Since I’ve read Job before, in erratic bits and pieces, I know ahead of time that Elihu will finally put in his two cents, which have more balanced wisdom than the others’, and God will finally put an end to the abuse.
Unanswered questions still remain.
But I’m not talking about Job now. I’m talking about my own life. And alas, I am no Job. I don’t have his patience, in and of myself. I can reach the end of my rope while I still have health and home and family… when just one dark, unanswered issue jabs, jabs, jabs at me like a burr in my shirt, under my winter coat.
What do I do at times like these?
I ask myself this question, ask God this question, and then just happen to pick up the old copy of Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest lying on the table before me. Just curious to see what his entry for this date might be, I read:
“‘What I Tell You in Darkness, that speak ye in the light…’ (Mt 10:27)
“At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him…
“Watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there, keep your mouth shut… If you open your mouth in the dark, you will talk in the wrong mood. If you talk to other people, you can’t hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light…”
-Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Feb 14 , “The Discipline of Heeding”
So. More practice of silence. And listening.
16 thoughts on “Facing Job: When No Answers Come”
This was perfect for me today.
Ah, Tereasa, dear sister, I am so happy to “see” you appear here. I think of you quite often. I’m joyed to think you may have gotten some encouragement from something in this post. May God bless you richly, as you live your life for Him, in His will, and in the dark places wait and listen for Him. I’ve been in a bit of a dark place, with lots of unanswered questions, and yet have this light: that He wants me to hush up and abide with and in Him, listen, and heed.
And then… my computer went on the fritz, and I couldn’t get on it, let alone on here—because my screen went DARK, and I couldn’t get it to light up. But this morning it was better enough that I could do some trouble shooting, so maybe it’s “there,” and maybe it isn’t. What surprised me was my reaction to the trouble. It was sort of… freeing.
Love and prayers,
Thanks for commenting on my other blog Under the Cover of Prayer. We both read Oswald Chambers and it seems we both are on the look out and praying for God to use us to further HIs Kingdom.
Blessings on your writing and living for Him,
May we get to know each other better.
And thanks for linking to Sunday Stillness – it will be up tonight at 8 EST.
Yes, Janis, I think we’re traveling in the same direction, have a number of things in common. Yes, let’s get to know each other better.
And thanks for the Sunday Stillness link-up, and letting me know about it.
we wait on…
Yes, Firefly. Sometimes it’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut when I can’t make sense of things. But that’s when I “talk in the wrong mood,” as he says. I’m learning how spiritually productive silent listening can be!
I understand re: the complications and some misunderstanding and challenges. Yes, I’ve read Job many times, b/c I read the Bible all the way through. BUT I struggle in Job many times. The conflict doesn’t always make sense to me. Maybe translation has made it misunderstood. But have some poetic books based on it that Susan Jones [Just…Moment] gave them to me quite a number of years ago. Good to help. Anyhow, you had a way to grab us to think. Thanks!
My husband actually likes Job! Says it’s one of his favorite books, that every time he reads it he gains more from it. Well, I don’t think it’ll ever be one of my favorites, and I think there might be a better time to be reading through it than “in the bleak midwinter,” but I’m finding it true for me, too, that I’m getting some new insight now each time I struggle (piecemeal) through it. This happens mostly when I bravely ask the honest hard questions it raises, then pay attention for the answers. Hope to write a future post about what I’ve learned from the book.
Thanks for your candid comment. That’s the kind of honesty that often paves the way to better understanding
When you have done ALL you can do, it is time to trust God. Health wise, use wisdom in your food and drink choices and watch the white stuff (they say.) If it is a job, send out your resume, and search the classifies, then apply at all State and County positions which will require a test. If it is abuse, seek help from authorities. Like Job, continue to pray for your friends and watch for deliverance.
Good options to consider, Hazel. But often I have trusted Him *only* after I’ve exhausted every other possibility. In His wisdom, long ago (and well, since then, too) He taught me through circumstances He allowed in my life, to *start* with trusting Him, and then with His help and guidance become empowered to go through all those other options. I really couldn’t do some of them in my strength alone, but His help cruised me through them! I understand what you mean, though, that sometimes we can do everything possible and it does no good, and we must just surrender the situation entirely to Him.
Love the Oswald Chambers quote! Staying silent & listening for now. Have a blessed Sunday!
It’s a good one, isn’t it, Joanne? Been basking in silence, too. And it is paying off! Thanks. God bless!
Hi Sylvia! I am right there with you. My husband has been out of work for almost two years now. Sigh… I have no idea what God has in mind. I am truly out of gas, and I have come to think that this is where God wants me. Completely submitted to him. Knowing I am not in charge.
I don’t like it very much. But, it’s the truth. Facing my own lack of control is hard.
I hope you will find your peace in waiting. It will come. And I will keep you in my heart when I pray too.
Oh, boy! Ceil, I am going to be praying for you and your husband. It’s when things stretch out like that, seemingly without end, that they start to get to us, isn’t it? I have found peace, and more, in the waiting, but my waiting is a little different. A little the same, though, too: having “come to think this is where God wants me. Completely submitted to Him.” The first spiritual lesson God ever taught me was that I couldn’t fix or control everything, and that I needed to trust Him instead. An excellent basics in faith class, and of course He gives me review sessions from time to time! 😉
God bless you, too, Ceil. I’m so glad we “met.”
I love to come back and reread your post and the comments a few days after reading the first time and connecting it to threads before and after. “Freeing” not to have your computer indeed. Discipline. I had nearly given up on self discipline but your comment on trusting God first rather than after ‘doing all we can’ and allowing Him to empower us. Miss you-so glad you did return to the computer.
I need that reminder about looking to God first as much as anyone, Laurie. It’s knee-jerk easy to jump to the action forgetting how we need His power in it! And yes, limiting my online time is proving such a beneficial discipline, whether I should call it a *self* discipline or not. (It would be better to call it a God-empowered discipline and have it be that, wouldn’t it?) So good always to read your comments here, dear friend.
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