On Thursday, however, I needed the light. With the dark skies and absence of sunlight, my office was dim and gloomy. I could see well enough to type and use my computer, but not well enough to read. So, after a few minutes of trying to decipher the words on the paper before me, I finally stood up and pulled on the cord to light up the room. Wow! What a difference! The light that typically would have gone unnoticed created a more comfortable and productive environment.
It's a bit like trying to use headlights or a flashlight during a bright day. It's pointless. It makes no difference whatsoever. But bring on the darkness, and suddenly, we become very appreciative of the light. Strange, huh? But Job understood, and I think I'm beginning to.
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. - Job 42:5
This verse takes place smack dab in the midst of Job's suffering. His wealth had been destroyed. His children had been killed. His health had been ripped away from him. His friends (if you could call them that) had been less than encouraging. And now, he's just gotten a speech from God like no other. God wasn't angry with Job. He wasn't trying to be cocky or condescending. He simply wanted Job to understand that Job couldn't understand. He needed to remind Job Who was in control.
So how does Job respond? Differently than I often do when God has to set me straight. I tend to huff and puff, pout and cry and finally realize that God was right (no duh, right?). Job, on the other hand, decided to take a different approach, to view his trials with a different perspective. "I've heard about you, God. I've served You. I've talked about You. But, now," Job says as his eyes fill with tears, "now I've seen You." Leave it to the darkness to reveal the Light. No, there's nothing like a lack of sunshine to make us appreciative of the Source of all light.
Shouldn't that knowledge change the way we look at our troubles? Job's wife wanted him to give up and die. His friends wanted him to look deep inside himself and see where he went wrong. But God wanted Job to see Him, and in His infinite wisdom, He knew that the Light was much easier to spot in the darkest of times.
So what about our struggles? Are we having a hard time because we're being punished? Well, that should be easy enough to answer. We know what's right and what's wrong. So, if that's not the cause of our suffering, could it be that God is allowing us to go through some dark times so that we can better catch a glimpse of Him. Not a glimpse of His blessings. Not a glimpse of what He can do or has done. But a glimpse of Who He is. Counselor. Comforter. Savior. Friend. Can you see Him? It's one thing to know God, to serve Him and to talk about Him, but it's quite another to actually see Him for Who He is. Through the darkness, He's giving us the opportunity to do just that.
Perhaps the darkness isn't so bad after all. What do you think?