I sometimes regret that we have no concept of the time which elapsed during the trial of Job.
I think that the reason that this was excluded from the Bible is the same reason we are not told when Christ will rapture his church.
The temptation to measure our troubles against time would be irresistible. If only we can hold out as long as Job . . .
I imagine Job would be eager to point something out, My friend, do you imagine that time healed the wounds of the loss of my children?
And again, Did you think that God simply made it all better by restoring my wealth and giving me more children?
The exact purpose behind Job's ordeal I think he is still in the process of discovering, but I imagine the first thing he learned was that his protestations of innocence in the face of accusations had the same quality of frustrated ignorance that grips a child when the needle inoculates him against small pox.
I think that what dawned on Job as he listened to God speak from the whirlwind was a fleeting but profound glimpse of God's transcendence.
Nowhere in God's response to Job will you find an apology or an explanation for what Job had suffered.
In essence, God was saying, "Child, you don't need a reason, you just need to remember who I am."
Another reason I search for a calendar in the life of Job is not so much questioning how much pain and suffering Job endured, but wondering how long Job spoke to God before God answered?
I believe that this was the greatest pain Job endured. The brassy heavens.
Job didn't long for recompense as much as he longed for reassurance that his tormentor was God and not fate.
I reflect on the terror that filled Job's soul as the Voice overwhelmed from the whirlwind. I think it must have felt something like letting go of the cliff's edge.
I think it must have felt something like surrender, and I think it must have felt like being swept downstream in a raging torrent into the arms of God.
I think it must have felt like being sanctified; the terror you feel of laying your will down on an altar to be brutally sacrificed only to awaken to a sweet realization as the thing lies in death throes that you have been rid of a killing cancer.
I wish to know how long the patron saint of suffering suffered before the breathtaking rebuke of God carried away all his care and all his questions.
Empathy for Job comes not as first-hand knowledge of such grief and pain, but identification with the wait.
Oswald Chambers writes, "There are times when there is no illumination and no thrill, but just the daily round, the common task. Routine is God's way of saving us between our times of inspiration."
Hear, hear . . . . . .
. . . . . how long in between inspirations?
I remember the tempestuous relationship with emotion, good and bad, that I rode out during the first year after my conversion. I remember the storms, and I remember Jesus walking on the water in the dead of night. I remember so much breathless fear, and such sweet reassurance.
The caveat of maturity, however agonizingly slow, is the loss of a childish innocence.
Read the word carefully, childish, not childlike.
The innocence I speak of is naivete, not faith. But naivete and helplessness has its benefits. God pampers babies.
When you come to recognize Satan's exploitation of an over-active conscience, you don't require the calm reassurance, Yes, you're doing fine.
The waves don't get so big, but I haven't seen Jesus walking on the water in the night for a long time.
More later . . .
Note: Reflection is good for the soul. Whether or not it comes with a cute, tidy little conclusion. . . .well. . . .Job?
Book Review: Peace for Today
11 months ago