Intimacy Amidst Hardship
“Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, when the Almighty was still with me” (Job 29:4–5).
Notice the way Job speaks of intimate friendship with God in the past tense. He feels that it was when he enjoyed good things from God—when had his children around him, an abundance of food and livestock, and honor—that then he and God shared an intimate friendship. Job mistakenly thought that his suffering meant the Almighty had left Him.
I have just been through what has felt like a Job-like year. And at times I thought the same thing.
Reading my Bible at the beginning of this year, Matthew 5:3 struck a chord: Blessed are the poor in spirit. I looked up the word “blessed” in the original Greek to find out what Jesus meant. From makarios, it means we are blessed because the hand of God is at work in our lives for a greater, divine purpose. This is why, even when we suffer, we are blessed, because we know God’s purpose is for our good (Rom. 8:28) and his glory (1 Cor. 10:31).
After God appears to Job and speaks to him, Job responds:
“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand…
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:3b, 5)
Seeing God—being blessed by His presence—became enough for Job. As Job came to realize, he was blessed not because of what he had or didn’t have, but because of WHO he had. This is intimacy with God. Knowing HE is with me at all times, trusting that HE is in control of all things, that HE can make all things work for my good and His glory. And that HE is enough.