The Voice of Job

O that thou wouldst hide me in the grave, that thou wouldst keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldst appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.

— Job 14: 13-15

When I speak of rights, I do not mean merits—of any sort. We can deserve from God nothing at all, in the sense of any right proceeding from ourselves. All our rights are such with which the bounty of love inconceivable has glorified our being—rights so deep, so high, that their satisfaction cannot be given until we long for them with our deepest desire. The giver of them came to men, lived with men, and died by the hands of men, that they might possess these rights abundantly. Our rights have God himself at the heart of them. But as to deserving, that is absurd; he had to die to make us listen and receive. 

But, lest it should be possible that any unchildlike soul might, in arrogance and ignorance, think to stand upon his rights against God, and demand of him this or that after the will of the flesh, I will say this: He has a claim on God, a divine claim, for any pain, disappointment, or misery that would help to show him to himself as the fool he is; he has a claim to be punished, to be spared not one pang that may urge him towards repentance; yea, he has a claim to be sent out into the outer darkness, whether what we call hell, or something speechlessly worse, if nothing less will do. He has a claim to be compelled to repent; to have one after another of the sharp-toothed sheepdogs of the great shepherd sent after him, until he comes to see that nothing will ease his pain, nothing make a life worth having, but the presence of the living God within him.