Even today my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning.
If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling!
I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would find out what he would answer me,
and consider what he would say. "
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.
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
God has made my heart faint;
Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
by the thick darkness that covers my face.
~ Job 23 (excerpted from the KJV)
C.S. Lewis founded a literary discussion group called the Inklings in London..."inklings" or glimpses of greatness as manifested by unfinished works of fiction and fantasy by the great writers of that time, most notably J.R.R. and Christopher Tolkien.
"A slight suggestion or indication; hint; intimation..." My inklings are my children. How can one question a good, righteous, beautiful, compassionate God in the face of that dimpled, peaches-and-cream cheek softly brushing one's own? In this time of questioning, wondering, crying out for understanding, there they are: my anchor to the reality of God's wonderful, saving grace. As a parent, you learn in new ways what it means to love someone indescribably, incomprehensibly, unconditionally, unchangeably, intensely, immeasurably. My children sin, and I must teach them, let them suffer consequences, and yet I love them! My children aggravate me, and yet I love them. My children hurt each other or others, and yet I love them. I know that I will love them, deeply, expansively so, whatever befalls them, whatever they choose. I may not agree, I may not be able to support their decisions, but I will love them. This is my "inkling" of how God feels about me, "Must you, my child? Yet I love you! Yet I forgive you...nay, I sacrificed my Son for this very sin, however small!" How can I hope to understand this vast world of life and death He created? I am a speck in an infinite sand of eternal blessings and sufferings. Without Him, I am "a transitory and senseless contortion upon the idiotic face of infinite matter" (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain).
How interesting that Job, crushed, bruised and battered, all that he loved torn from him inexplicably, reflects my own dichotomous thoughts in chapter 23 (above). He is searching for God, yet admits he will never find Him; he says he is terrified of God, yet he trusts Him; he knows his words are meaningless, yet he says he will not be silent! This cancer "covers my face with darkness" at times, yet I am not silent. I am meditating today on Proverbs 4: what wisdom do I seek? Wisdom about how to live this day? Wisdom about what it means to face death and live? Wisdom about finding joy in the face of suffering? What wisdom do I seek this moment?
"Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding! Don't forget one word! Don't deviate an inch! Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom! Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding! Throw your arms around her—believe me, you won't regret it; never let her go—she'll make your life glorious. She'll garland your life with grace, she'll festoon your days with beauty." ~ Proverbs 4:3-9 (The Message)
"Tröstet, tröstet", spricht der Herr,
"mein Volk, daß es nicht zage mehr."
Der Sünde Last, des Todes Fron
nimmt von euch Christus, Gottes Sohn.
"Comfort, comfort," says my God,
"my people, I hesitate not."
Your load of sin to lighten;
Through the death of Christ you are God's son!
Hebe deine Stimme, sprich mit Macht,
daß niemand fürchte sich.
Es kommt der Herr, eur Gott ist da
und herrscht gewaltig fern und nah.
Lift your voice, speak with power,
so that no one is afraid.
The God Who comes is He Who rules
powerfully both near and far!
~words by Waldemar, music by Hans Friedrich Micheelsen, Heilandskirchenlied, 1937/8