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

Even if Job could not at first follow his argument, God settled everything for him when, by answering him out of the whirlwind, he showed him that he had not forsaken him. It is true that nothing but a far closer divine presence can ever make life a thing fit for a son of man—for while he has it not in him, his conscious self is but a mask, a spiritual emptiness; but for the present,  Job, yielding to God, was satisfied. Perhaps he came at length to see that, if anything God could do to him would trouble him so as to make him doubt God, then it was time that he should be so troubled, that his lack of faith should be revealed to him. To know that our faith is weak is the first step towards its strengthening; to be capable of distrusting is death; to know that we are, and cry out, is to begin to live—to begin to be made such that we cannot distrust, such that God may do anything with us and we shall never doubt him. Until doubt is impossible, we are lacking in the true, the childlike knowledge of God; for either God is such that one may distrust him, or he is such that to distrust him is the greatest injustice of which a man can be guilty. If we are able to distrust him, either we know God imperfectly, or we do not know him. Perhaps Job learned something like this; anyhow, the result of what Job had to endure was a greater nearness to God. But all that he was required to receive at the moment was the argument of God’s loving wisdom in his power, to his loving wisdom in everything else.  In a very deep sense, power and goodness are one. In the deepest fact they are one.