In my morning study book we have been dashing through Job at breakneck speed picking up gems every now and then. I have read through Job so many times and each time there is always a light shining on something new that I never noticed before. I think we are getting to the end. God joins in the conversation.
Job 38:1-3 says “Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said, "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”
Reading through the chapter you begin to realise that Job is not getting the answers he is looking for. Question after question is shot at him from the Almighty! There was no way that Job had an inkling of any of the answers.
But you know what really struck me? I don’t think Job cared a jot about the questions God was asking, or was the least bit anxious that he didn’t know the answers. I think that what soared through him at that moment was indescribable joy! God was speaking and it didn’t pretty much matter what He was saying. Just to hear God’s voice – possibly with a clarity he had never experienced before – joy pulsated through Job!
The silent one was no longer silent. The trial that caused the most grief wasn’t the boils on his body that he scratched with a bit of broken pottery. Loosing his children was pretty rough too, and the sheep, and camels – but loosing a sense of God’s presence far outweighed them all.
There is something that Elihu says to Job earlier on in the conversation in Job 33:14 –“For God does speak - now one way, now another - though man may not perceive it.” There is almost an arrogance that says that because I cannot hear God speaking, He is not speaking – He is silent. God speaks but we just don’t perceive it.
Does God intend that we don’t hear him? Was perceived silence part of the suffering Job went through?
There are obviously times when we distance ourselves from God through our actions. There are times when we deliberately stick our spiritual fingers in our ears because we don’t want to hear. But what about the times when we long to hear his voice and we just don’t “perceive it”?
Does God’s silence achieve a God-given purpose? Are the times that God chooses to withdraw just as important as the times when he draws close enough to hear the whispers?
I don’t have any answers – I am just musing, just posing some unanswerable questions of my own!