(An edited journal excerpt from June 1991)
Job 14:14-17 NIV, “If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made. Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin.”
In the dark night places, as John of the Cross calls them, and in what I’ve been describing as dry or waiting places, I am looking to God to take initiative. “You will call and I will answer You.” So much of my prayer is my calling, expecting His answer. This, of course, has its place in my life. But sometimes my calling isn’t done in a listening posture. I’m only listening for God’s reply to my request, and not listening more broadly for whatever it is He may wish to say.
God calls to us from a place of deep desire. He longs for the one He has made. He longs for me. Do I believe this, especially when dry seasons make God feel far away? John of the Cross says that the dark night is a place where God’s purifying, fiery love does its work in me.
This place of “hard service” is a time of waiting on God’s own renewing work in me. I don’t renew myself. I trust God to do His renewing work.
One thing that encourages me as I think of the bigger story of Job is that his season of deep testing results in an increased level of influence and leadership. “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.” (Job 42:10-12 NIV)
Can I find hope in this for myself? Might this trying, dry season actually be the means by which You drive my roots deeper for future seasons of greater fruitfulness? Father, I look forward to You blessing me beyond anything You have done on my behalf in the past. Thank You, Father.
God, in this season of dryness and waiting is gathering together all of my desires, my thoughts, my motivations and my energies so that He might unite them in obedience to the greatest command, “to love Him with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul and all my strength.”
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