July 2 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.” ~Job 23:16-17

Job’s complaint continues. He looks for God everywhere, but can’t find him. North, south, east, west—He’s nowhere to be found. Surely God knows where Job is and sees Him suffering (Job 23:8-10), and so Job continues to maintain his innocence. He knows he will “come forth as gold” from this testing, meaning that God will find no fault in him (Job 23:10). But alas, God does whatever He wants. He is sovereign, and sometimes He does things that really hurt, even to the most innocent and righteous. Who knows then what else He has in store. “That is why I am terrified before him,” Job says in verse 23:15. C. S. Lewis, who knew the pain of loss, captured some of the same feelings when he wrote “What do people mean when they say ‘I am not afraid of God because I know he is good?’ Have they never been to the dentist?”(A Grief Observed).

In fear and trembling, Job continues to work out his faith. He wants to plead his case and he is more determined than ever. But although God is just, one never knows when He’s going to show up in court! He doesn’t keep regular office hours. “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?” (Job 24:1). While the just wait, people do whatever they want—remove boundary stones (move property lines to expand their fields), steal flocks, take advantage of orphans and widows, take other men’s wives, and break into people’s houses! Where is God? When will He show to give the upright their day?

You know these feelings that Job expressed, every Christ-follower does. Sometimes God allows things to come into our lives that really, really hurt. We look for but cannot find Him for answers. Sometimes we wish God scheduled appointments and took care of things when it is convenient for us. But that is not the way God works.

Without realizing it, Job is moving closer to the truth: God’s ways are sometimes mysterious. It is not that He is unjust; it is just that He is God. He does what He wants when He wants, and He is beholden to no one. Moreover, as Job will soon discover, God is good. Even when He permits really hurtful things to happen, He is good. Kind of like the dentist.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.