Like most men, Job struggled to understand the involvement of God in his life. His experience brought him to the place of humiliation, as he humbly surrendered in dependance to God. He made the following confession. “You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I – and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance” (Job 42:3-6 NLT). Instead of resistance, Job was brought to the freedom of dependence. As a wildman can you identify your resistance to God, especially when you don’t understand God’s ways in your life? Then can you embrace dependance regarding the mystery of God’s will for you as Job did? He ended up being content to let God be God, far beyond his comprehension.
I thought of this verse when I reflected on words from Thomas Keating reminding us that we are more then our thoughts and feelings. Men are not comfortable with the mystery of God, especially trying to discern his involvement in our lives. But God’s way are far beyond our thoughts and feelings. God tells us, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts…and my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8 NLT). He will not bow to our desires and demands. To come to the realization that we are more than what we think and feel can be very liberating, indeed. For God is present in our lives far beyond our consciousness aware of Him. Job expressed this freedom when he could say, “I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.” Now he saw with spiritual eyes, saying, “now I have seen you with my own eyes.” Paul refers to this as, “having the eyes of your heart enlightened” (Eph 1:18). Job humbly repented of all his wrong thinking in his relationship to God.
“Humiliation.” Keating reminds us, “is the way to humility.” I am finally coming to see that humiliation is a good experience, even though it is hard on my male ego. Surrender in dependance and weakness to the Lord, is the path to freedom. “Humility,” says Keating, “is very close to trust and hope.” For hope is found as we learn to trust God. It is not based on what I think or do, but on the fact that God is good and merciful.
My distorted thoughts and confused emotions are not who I really am in Christ. My life is Christ is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3). There is plenty of mystery here. As I learn to surrender my old patterns of sin to his will, I will gain a confidence that God truly desires my best. In humble dependance on the Lord, “we know that whatever happens, the love of God is always with us and that He will turn even our failures into perfect love.”