Our painful circumstances feel more acute this time of year, when others seem to be so happy and light-hearted. Our present and future seem dreadful. Job, who suffered (he thought) so senselessly, felt his pain more acutely, not knowing the wider picture of the contest going on in heaven over his response to his suffering. But we can learn from his attitude. “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” (Job 13:15) And O Lord, give us the hope of the prophet Habakkuk:
“Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19
Job’s and Habakkuk’s hope was not based on circumstances or human reason. Rather, it was based only upon a deeper understanding of the character of Him who holds our lives in His hand. God’s character breeds confidence. Confidence like sheep have in their shepherd.
“Then I will make up to you for the years
That the swarming locust has eaten . . . .
“You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
Then My people will never be put to shame.
“Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel,
And that I am the Lord your God,
And there is no other;
And My people will never be put to shame. Joel 2:25-27
He may make our losses up to us and make it make sense in this world. But it may not be until the next world, when we are given clearer sight and a mind that thinks like His. Meanwhile, let us show our confidence in our Shepherd by praising Him through our tears and limping along the path in which He leads us.
At this time of the year, let us cling to the Light that shines in our darkness.
“The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.” Isaiah 9:2