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

How much more than Job are we bound, who know him in his Son as Love, to trust God in all the troubling questions that force themselves upon us! In the confusion of Job’s thoughts, in the presence of two such facts, that God was just, yet punishing a righteous man as if he were wicked, while he was not yet able to receive the thought that approving love itself might be inflicting or allowing the torture—that such suffering as his was granted only to a righteous man that he might be made perfect—I can well imagine that at times, as the one moment he doubted God’s righteousness, and the next cried aloud, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,”  there must have mingled some element of doubt as to the existence of God. To deny the existence of God may involve less unbeliefthan the smallest yielding to doubt of his goodness. I say yielding; for a man may be haunted by doubts, and only grow thereby in faith. Doubts are the messengers of the Living One to rouse the honest. Doubt must precede every deeper assurance; for uncertainties are what we first see when we look into a region hitherto unknown. In all Job’s begging and longing to see God, then, may well be supposed to mingle the mighty desire to be assured of God’s being. One great point in the poem is that when Job hears the voice of God, though it utters no word of explanation, it is enough to him to hear it: he knows that God is, and that he hears the cry of his creature. That he is there, knowing all about him, is enough; he needs no more to reconcile seeming contradictions, and the worst ills of outer life become endurable.