Adam and Eve were banned from Eden. They knew there was no return. Cain cried out that God’s punishment was more that he could bear.. but there was no going back. Esau wept with tears, “yet without repentance,” knowing his past was irreversible and Job, in the midst of his torment, can do nothing but bemoan the day of his birth; “Would to God, that I had never been born…” was his anguished cry. There are things in life that are irreparable and there is no going back … his children, his property, his reputation, his hope – all had evaporated. There seemed no point in continuing. And yet Job held fast to his faith in God.
Sometimes bitterness descends, and like Job’s wife they cry “curse God and die…” But Job’s sense of irrevocable loss brought him face to face with God… face to face with the One Who was slain… slain from the foundation of the world. It caused him to see the loss that God was facing – the loss of His beloved Son. It brought him to a point where he began to grasp the meaning of redemption. It brought him to the point where he could proclaim: I know that my Redeemer lives. Job 19:25
Man’s native wit shouts, “this is not right, my life is tragic and unbearable, what must I do to be saved..?” Common sense screams that life was not created to face such heartaches – until, like the Job’s of this world, they face the brutal cross of Christ. A head-knowledge of the cross is no protection from the assails of Satan. It is only in the depths of the heart that the Spirit speaks….
It is only the heart that has fully embraced the Cross that can withstand the attacks… vicious attacks of a vicious enemy that accuse the bedrock of a man’s belief in God. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb. And they overcame him because of the word of their testimony, And they overcame him because they did not love their life – even when faced with death.
When a Job is brought to an end of himself.. he starts to recognise his own helplessness. When a man reaches his extremity.. his only recourse is to rest in the Beloved. This is not the cowardly thing to do – though others may perceive it to be so. This is the wise and courageous thing to do. This is the will of God. This is the one desire of the Lord in each pilgrim’s life. While a man can face and furnish his own desires, there is little need of a Saviour – but when a man denies self and rests in Him alone – this is the Way that God intended.
The aim of Satan is to turn a man’s heart against God, and exhaust his trust in Him. He seeks to foster the lie that God is careless and cruel, disinterested and detached, but when a man strikes agonising depths of despair and deliberately turns to God.. when a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief tuns to God in his helplessness.. God slowly draws back the curtain of unknowing, into realms not traversed before.
God’s very hedge of protection around a faithful man of God often has sharp thorns – the sharpest of thorns.. thorns which rip and tear at the heart.. thorns that take him to the edge of helplessness. But the balm of Gilead is waiting to be applied after life’s lengthy season of sorrow.. Applied in time (in Christ’s millennial age), when He will wipe away every tear. And also – in the timeless ages to come – in life eternal – when He will wipe away all tears from their eyes.
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