Purer Than Gold
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 94:1-11 | Job 23:1-27:23 | 2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11 | Proverbs 22:5-6
Today’s Scripture Focus: Job 23-27
“But he knows the way I take; When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10 NIV).
Job was wrestling with feelings of abandonment from God. He wanted to state his case before the Almighty, but he seemed unable to find him. Often the trials of life bring on such feelings of abandonment. “But if I go to the east, he is not there, if I go to the west I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.”
We all have these “dark nights of the soul” where God is teaching us to trust him in the dark. They are difficult times because they stretch our faith, but they can be times of incredible growth.
Job was also wrestling with feelings of injustice. He didn’t understand why he was enduring all these trials: had he not been faithful to the Lord? He thought that if he could only argue his case with God, he could show his integrity and blamelessness and that the trial would be over. Of course, Job didn’t understand the underlying theme which we saw in the early chapters. He was going through these trials not because of disobedience, but because Satan was testing the character of this righteous man, hoping to prove that difficult times could shake him from his trust in God.
God saw the integrity of his character and allowed the test to take place. What Satan meant for evil, God planned to use for good. He always does.
Tough times are a test of our faith, and an opportunity for growth. Conventional wisdom (Bildad and Eliphaz) assumes that the tests come because of our disobedience. Job reminds us that this is not always the case. Sometimes the tough times are tests of our faith given to us so we can grow and mature in the faith.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4, NIV).
These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:7-8, NIV).
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:3-5, NIV)
Despite the feelings of abandonment and injustice, Job continued to trust God and persevere in his faith. His statement is an amazing one, filled with wisdom: “But he knows the way that I take; When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
God knows all your ways, he sees you in your trial. He hasn’t abandoned or forgotten you. He is using this tough time to test and refine your faith. When he has tested you, you too, will come forth as gold.
Father God, I sometimes struggle to understand your ways. When you seem distant and silent to my cries. When life seems unfair. Teach me to trust you in the dark. Help me to press on when there is no light in sight. I struggle sometimes, but I do wait upon you. Amen.