Daily D – Job 29:2-3
If only I could be as in months gone by, in the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone above my head, and I walked through darkness by his light! JOB 29:2-3 (CSB)
“If only” are words of regret and lament. They point back to better days. They express how we wish things would be again. Most often they are an acknowledgment that we did not realize how good we had it at the time.
Job certainly had cause to utter such sad speech. Not only had he lost almost everything he had, and he had a lot, but his friends blamed him for the loss. You and I get to sit in our chairs well distant from this particular playing field. We can point out where Job’s friends were wrong and where Job might have sucked it up a little better.
There is a pretty good chance we have sat where Job’s friends sat. They had their own versions of “If only.” If only Job would confess his sin. If only Job would admit he was not as good as he pretended to be. If only Job would stop talking and start listening.
We often phrase things differently when we sit in those seats. We say things like, “If you would just . . .” One simple thing, we think, is all it would take to make things right. When we think and talk like this, we give evidence that we do not fully understand all that is going on. Neither did Job’s friends.
Let us say it again along with Stephen Covey: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
We do not sit in the omniscient observer’s chair when it comes to our own lives like we do when reading Job. We cannot see all that is going on around us. We do not perceive the spiritual battles. We cannot clearly assess other people’s motives. We cannot accurately read other people’s minds. How can we navigate what we cannot see?
Job talks about “walking through the darkness by his light.” Wouldn’t it be nice to have God’s clear guidance in every uncertainty? In John 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”
You and never have to say, “If only Jesus would light up my path.” We have all the light we need and about as much light as we want. We resort to “If only” when we stop following him, stop seeking him, stop listening for his voice, stop doing what he says.
You and I occupy Job’s chair in our own personal dramas. Joy and problems come to each of us. Sometimes our friends do not understand. Sometimes our paths are unclear. These are good times to follow wherever Jesus leads. Staying in step with him provides all the light we need for our next steps. The closer we walk with him, the fewer the “If only” moments in our lives.
Why not draw close to Jesus right now? Turn “If only” into “Next time.” Next time, I will walk more closely with Jesus, I will listen more attentively to his voice, and I will do what he says.
I will trust Jesus to provide light for my path.
Our Father, thank you for providing all the light we need. Lead me along my path. Show me the way I should go. Amen.
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6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,
12 look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Job 40:6–14.
Job 29:21-25 21 “People listened to me expectantly,
waiting in silence for my counsel.
22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
my words fell gently on their ears.
23 They waited for me as for showers
and drank in my words as the spring rain.
24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
the light of my face was precious to them.
25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;
I dwelt as a king among his troops;
I was like one who comforts mourners.