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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Psalm 23:3, 4 He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. (CSB)
Daniel 5:11 “There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the days of your predecessor he was found to have insight, intelligence, and wisdom like that of the gods. Your predecessor, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, mediums, Chaldeans, and diviners. (CSB)
Daniel 1:20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and mediums in his entire kingdom. (CSB)