Job indicates that his suffering would be more bearable if only he knew why it was happening. Job did not know that God had allowed Satan to test his faith, so Job is continuing to seek God. Job, in Job 23:1-9, 16-17, dares to seek a day in court with God. “Oh, that I knew where I might find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! ....I would lay my case before him” (vv. 3-4). He acknowledges that God knows the way he takes, and that the Almighty has terrified him. In Chapter 23 of Job, we see Job thirsting for fellowship with God. His concerns are expressed frankly and passionately. But we see that his thirst finally ends in fulfillment.

It is amazing at times how brutally honest the people for faith can be. Biblical characters often pray with the same boldness as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, who said, “I know we are the chosen people, but, Lord can’t you sometimes chose someone else?” Job admits that he is in pain. He admits that he feels far from God. He desires to take his case before God, to talk with God about his problems, to try to come to some kind of understanding about his suffering. Job says, “I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say to me” (vv. 4-5). Job’s boldness is not a hindrance to his relationship with God. God has always been delighted with bold faith.

Job describes his longing as a search for God. He looks to the east and west but doesn’t find God. He looks to the north and south but cannot find God. Maybe the problem is that Job is looking too far away. God may be a lot closer that he thinks. Even in the midst of this gut-wrenching search, Job believes that all things will eventually come out all right. He says with confidence, “he knows the way that I take” (v. 10). Without arrogance, Job says, “When he has tested me, I shall come out like gold” (v. 10). That is not an arrogant assumption; it was Job’s own personal experience that in relationship with God he found his highest potential.

Job thought he couldn’t find God, but God was very near to him. A skeptical professor once wrote on the blackboard the statement, “God Is Nowhere.” During the break between lectures, a student rearranges the spaces until the statement read, “God is Now Here.” When we face struggles that lead to feelings of separation from God, we are prone to conclude that God is nowhere. We find that right in the midst of the struggle God is now here.

Where are you now with our Lord and Savior? Are you willing to accept his call?

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J.B. Morris leads the St. Andrews United Methodist Church.