I have days when I just want to hide from the world under my duvet but whatever it is I have had to face it seems small compared to Job. He has had everything taken from him. In fact, the only things that remain are his wife; who tells him to curse GOD and be done with it, three friends; who do best when they are just sitting with him and not talking (!) and GOD; the only steadfast hope he has. Everything has gone wrong and he doesn’t just want to hide away, but to have never been born.
Job asks GOD to end his life. May the day of his birth be turned to darkness and no light shine upon it. This is the ultimate in Monday morning feelings and stay in bed moments. He wants to be covered by darkness and death.
I haven’t suffered like Job did. He lost his children, his wealth, his income, his workforce, his health and his dignity. The thing is, though, when we compare, we can very easily belittle the suffering we are going through. It is important to be real with GOD, to communicate with Him. Job is a great example of saying how he feels about it all … and it isn’t pretty! But that doesn’t stop him from telling GOD how it is. He uses the imagery of light to help us understand his feelings. All light has been extinguished and now he wants even that first light to have never happened – he curses the day he was born. But the thing is, he doesn’t hide out in a dark corner, instead he exposes how he is trying to process what has happened to him and around him. He brings it into the light so that he can see it better. Our Heavenly Father is able to shed light on all darkness, to him there is nothing too dark.
Job, in his processing offers some interesting questions.
Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom GOD has hedged in? Job 3:23
I am not certain he really wants an answer. He is just saying it as it is; there seems no escape and no future. Sometimes I ask questions that I just need to vocalise. There are plenty of examples of people asking questions in the Bible. Sometimes they get an answer immediately, other times it is revealed over years, in fact, there are some questions that don’t ever seem to be answered … but that is alright.
This question stood out to me on this page and I want to try and answer it.
If we were to know and see the way that GOD was sending us, we may not believe that we could ever do it. Doubt, fear, laziness, complacency and lack of conviction can creep in. To have a hidden path, in hindsight, is often a blessing. Having a hedge about you can enclose, surround and restrict movement. If we were not to be hedged in we might stumble off the path.
I lived in Devon for a while. There are lots of very windy roads in Devon and they are often bordered by very tall hedges. There were certain drivers that I did not like to travel with when getting from one place to another. The speed limit on these tiny roads was 60 mph … and they drove at that speed. It would be terrifying! When I drove, I would bring that speed right down, even 40 mph seemed ridiculous. But the more I think about it, the more I understand. These fast drivers had lived in Devon for a long time, they knew the roads well and had no fear of an unexpected bend or tractor. They could drive at high speed with confidence even though they couldn’t see further than I could. The hedges weren’t there to slow them down or confuse them – like they would with me – but they were part of the journey and nothing to worry about. I couldn’t stare out the window at the wonder of the view, like you can in Sussex, but had to focus on the road instead.
So, I put to you, that to have your way hidden from you and to be hedged in can be seen as an act of mercy from a loving Father. He wants us to journey without distraction being reliant on Him.
If you are finding that the way you are on is hidden and you feel hedged in it is probably time to look for GOD. GOD is not like the path, He is not a hidden GOD. He is seen everywhere if you look for Him. He does not withhold from us because we might consider Him mean but wants us to search Him out.
If you search for Him, He will be found.
But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1
11 For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’ Jeremiah 29:11-14
I especially love the verses from Jeremiah. They are often quoted, but these words were given at a time when the people were in exile, removed from their homes and had nothing. They had little to cling to. Out of that hidden way and hedged in place, GOD speaks and gives fresh hope that He has not forgotten them and has a promised land for them.
It is comforting to know that no matter how dark my or your position may seem, it is not dark to GOD. Often our searching begins with asking questions and He can always be found when we seek Him. He has plans to prosper, give hope and a future … we just need to be walking the path that He is guiding us on.