Friends, our cross may be heavy, and the via dolorosa rough; but we have claims on God, yea, the right to cry to him for help. He has spent, and is spending himself to give us our birthright, which is righteousness. ..... God is offering us the one thing we cannot live without—his own self.
In this world, power is no proof of righteousness; but was it likely that he who could create should be unrighteous? Did not all he made delight the beholding man? Did such things foreshadow injustice towards the creature he had made in his image? If Job could not search his understanding in these things, why should he conclude his own case wrapt in the gloom of injustice? Might he not trust him to do him justice?
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...
. That we might know him he came; that we might go to him he went. If we dare, like Job, to plead with him in any of the heart-rending troubles that arise from the impossibility of loving such misrepresentation of him as is held out to us by some; if we think and speak out before him that which seems to us to be right, will he not be heartily pleased with his children’s love of righteousness? Verily he will not plead against us with his great power, but will put strength in us, and where we are wrong will instruct us.
No amount of wrong-doing in a child can ever free a parent from the divine necessity of doing all he can to deliver his child; the bond between them cannot be broken. It is the vulgar, worldly idea that freedom consists in being bound to nothing.............God could not be satisfied with himself without doing all that a God and Father could do for the creatures he had made—that is, without doing just what he had done, what he is going to and will do, to deliver his sons and daughters, and bring them home with rejoicing.
Is it not the sweetest music ear of maker can hear? Except the word of perfect son, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God!” We, imperfect sons, shall learn to say the same words, too: that we may grow capable and say them, and so enter into our birthright, become partakers of the divine nature in its divinest element, that Son came to us—died for the slaying of our selfishness, the destruction of our mean hollow pride.
It is God to whom every hunger, every aspiration, every longing of our nature is to be referred; he made all our needs, made us the creatures of a thousand necessities. When doubt and dread invade, and the voice of love in the soul is dumb, what can please the father of men better than to hear his child cry to him from whom he came, “Here I am, O God! Thou hast made me; give me that which thou hast made me needing.”
God speaks not a word of rebuke to Job for the freedom of his speech. It is those who know and respect only the outsides of religion, such as never speak or think of God but as the Almighty or Providence, who will say of the man who would go close up to God, and speak to him out of the deepest in the nature he has made, “he is irreverent.”
The thought has not yet come to him that that which it would be unfair to lay upon him as punishment, may yet be laid upon him as favor—blessing he would not dare to ask if he saw the means necessary to its giving, but blessing for which, once known and understood, he would be willing to endure all yet again.