“Look, I go forward, but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.
But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:8-10)
There are times when the Holy Spirit ‘withdraws’ from the conscious feelings of the believer. All the saints testify to times when suddenly, for no apparent reason, they feel lost and without comfort. Some call it ‘the dark night of the soul’. The Word of God seems tasteless. Prayer becomes just an un-exciting routine. Going to church is hard. The first time such a thing happened to me, I almost died of depression. I tried to search my heart for any known sin. I wanted to repent but I could not identify any particular sin. I felt like dying, like a fish out of the water…
Job was a righteous man, a child of God. The devil asked God for permission to attack him. Surprisingly, God granted that. The devil attacked and Job lost everything he had: his children, his property, the joy in his marriage, his health and the sympathy of his friends. But the most painful experience for Job was the fact that he felt he lost God. He tried to look for God but could not find Him. Looking north, south, east and west, Job could not find God. Then he knew that this pain must be a trial from God, a painful gift to him. He decided to pass thru this fire holding to his faith. He testified that he shall come out as gold. It happened just like that. After this fire, Job came out ‘approved and improved’ (Matthew Henry). This pain ended in a great testimony.
What are the lessons? First of all know that God has a purpose for allowing this trial. It is for His glory and for your good!!! Also know this: Trials are not forever. God supervises them. Once the character is established, once the gold shines and God can see His image in that gold, the trial shall end. Immediately beauty is revealed from ashes! Darkness ends and the sun shine forth! Great blessings follow such trials. God permits these trials so that we do not take His presence for granted. After the trial you shall fear God and appreciate His Spirit more than ever before! It is a great privilege for God to choose you to pass thru His fire! You and your ministry will rise to a higher level of grace and anointing! Praise the Lord!
Be encouraged, child of God. Wait at that place where you last ‘saw the Lord’. Even if you have to wait for hundred years, God is worth the wait. The hundred years shall become just a day for the Lord. God shall reward your faithful waiting. Under no circumstances you should think of backsliding. Patiently wait for God. Continue to read the Bible even if the Word feels tasteless. Continue to pray and serve God the best way you can. Pass thru the pain! God knows the way you take. In Hebrew it means that God has approved the way you took up until this moment. You are not lost. You can never be lost. The fire will only burn the impurities. The fire can never destroy your soul. Encourage yourself in the Lord! It is not easy but it is worth it! It is well with your soul!
“As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after Thee
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship Thee
You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship Thee”