Have you ever wondered if God is really there; if He is really listening to you when you pour out your heart to Him in prayer?
Has it ever gotten to the point that it seemed like He wasn’t there, or like He just didn’t even care?
Have you ever found yourself asking that question – “Where are you, God?” – desperately wanting to hear His gentle voice whisper, “Don’t worry; I’m right here”?
If you have ever experienced the loneliness of not feeling God’s presence – of not being able to find Him, or feel Him, or sense His closeness – you are not alone.
Job experienced that same empty feeling of not being able to find God. In Job 23:8-9, he said, “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.” Can’t you just feel the frustration in Job’s voice. “Where are you, God? I can’t find you!”
But Job’s frustration did not turn into desperation or hopelessness, because Job remembered two very important things. It would do us good to remember these same two universal truths when we find ourselves wondering if God is still there, and if He still cares.
- Job 23:10 – “But he knows the way that I take”. Even when Job couldn’t feel God’s presence, he knew that God was still there, and that God was watching over him. We can’t always trust our feelings, because our feelings can be tossed around quite easily like a small boat on a stormy lake. Feelings don’t always accurately portray reality, and in fact can easily skew our perspective. Truth, on the other hand, can always be trusted. Job reminds us of the trustworthy truth that God is always there, always watching over us, always ready to guide us if we will let Him … even when we don’t feel His presence and can’t seem to find Him no matter how hard we look. The truth is, He is always there.
- Still in Job 23:10 – “When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” What an amazing outlook! Job trusted God implicitly. Even when he could not find God or feel God’s presence, Job had confidence that God was still working in his life, and that he would pass the test and “come forth as gold”. When bad things happen to you, or when life falls apart all around you, things can seem pretty desperate and hopeless. When there is no end in sight, when there is no light at the end of the tunnel, when darkness seems to be closing in on you from every side, it is easy to just give up hope, especially when you can’t find God or feel His presence. But we need to develop the same kind of faith and trust that Job had. We need to simply hold on to God even more tightly during the difficult times, and trust that He can make good things happen in our lives even in the midst of suffering and turmoil (Romans 8:28). To borrow a mythological analogy, we need to develop the spirit of the phoenix, realizing that even out of destruction can come new life and new hope.
But the real key to Job’s spiritual survival, even when he was temporarily unable to find God, is found in verses 11 and 12.
- Job 23:11-12 says, “My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips.” Even when Job was feeling low, he continued to follow God’s will for his life. God has given us clear instructions, through His word, concerning the right way to live. When I devote my life to following God’s plan and living by His instructions, I am much better able to survive the spiritual setbacks that will inevitably come.
- The last part of verse 12 says, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” There is no substitute for reading and studying and knowing the Bible. How much time have you devoted to putting God’s word in your heart? Can you say, with Job, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread”? It amazes me how many people claim to love God and follow Him, who seldom if ever crack open their Bibles outside of the church building. If you treasure God’s word, you will spend a significant amount of time in it. Period.
There will be times in our lives when God seems far away, when we can’t find Him no matter how hard we look. When those times come, it is important to remember that God is still there even when we can’t see Him, that He still cares, and that He is watching over us. It is important to hold onto the hope that everything is going to be OK, that we are going to be OK, and that we will emerge from our trials stronger and more capable than before. If we commit ourselves to studying the Bible and living by its principles, we will emerge victorious in the end, no matter what life throws in our path along the way.
May God bless you on your journey.