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.