… you should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, and then you will know that there is judgment. —Job 19:29
This statement wraps up a speech by Job, a response to his awful friends who just keep coming at him. They want him to admit what he did, to bring his dark deeds into the light. As we know, though – Job was innocent.
If you have ever felt that way – stuck at a dead-end, completely in the dark, though you know you haven’t done anything wrong. It is a lonely space in time. In this verse, Job wants his friends to know they might end up there too, if they aren’t careful. Warren Wiersbe wrote in his commentary on Job,
At times God permits His children to experience darkness on a dead-end street where they don’t know which way to turn. When this happens, wait for the Lord to give you light in His own time. Don’t try to manufacture your own light or to borrow light from others.
I’ve been there. I’ve been greatly moved by God but also felt like He was keeping me stock still. No moving forward. No moving back. Completely pinned in on all sides. In my dead-end season I wrote this,
Maybe the darkness we are in is not because of some evil, satanic prank. Maybe it is a divine gift. Perhaps it is His Hand covering our eyes because His Glory is passing by. Maybe His Glory is being worked out in our lives and we couldn’t understand until it is complete. We must see it from the backside or our heads would explode. He has us hidden, between a rock and a hard place, but covered by His Hand – it is the safest place to be.
We often think what goes around comes around, but being in the dark may not be a result of our misdeeds. God may have us there for His purposes, which are not always immediately apparent. It may take days, weeks or years to understand His reasoning, if we ever do.
This is not a time for fear or shame – it is a time of growth and preparation. It is a time to focus on understanding, more fully, the truth of what God speaks to us. As Oswald Chambers states,
It is not the days of sunshine and splendor and liberty and light that leave their lasting and indelible effect upon the soul, but those nights of the Spirit in which, shadowed by God’s hand, hidden in the dark cleft of some rock in a weary land, He lets the splendor of the outskirts of Himself pass before our gaze.
We can focus on the outcome, or we can focus on God. We can live in fear of what we can’t see, or we can wait on the Lord to reveal His light to us. We can learn more and more and more about this God we put our trust in. We can take comfort in His promises, even if we can’t see our hands in front of our face. Treat it as a divine gift – embrace the safety of being in His Hands.
If you feel trapped or like there is no way out, seek safety in the Lord.
Heavenly Father – I know Job was confused about where You had him. I, too, am confused by where You have me. It feels strange and scary to not be able to see the way ahead. Bring to my mind all Your promises of deliverance and peace because I want to grow closer to You during this season. Help me to lean into You, resting comfortably in Your arms so I can wait patiently for Your glory to be revealed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.