Job 19:6-8 (ESV)
Know then that God has put me in the wrong
and closed his net about me.
Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered;
I call for help, but there is no justice.
He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass,
and he has set darkness upon my paths.
When everything turns against you, helplessness sets in. Others around you may see opportunities. All you can see is hopelessness. Others see glimmers of light. All you see is darkness. It is hard to help someone in that condition. It is nearly impossible for them to drag themselves out of the darkness to see any light at all. All they can see are the obstacles. The interesting thing for Job is that while he sees hopelessness in life, he sees hope beyond this life.
Job 19:25-27 (ESV)
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!
Job says, “After my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” Ultimately his hope was not in this world, but in an eternal God. He firmly believed that although God seemed to reject him in this life, there would be a day when he would see God. “Redeemer” is the same word used in Ruth to refer to Boaz as her kinsman redeemer. Job’s kin have abandoned him. In Job 19:17 he says, “My breath is strange to my wife, and I am a stench to the children of my own mother.” Even his siblings have rejected him, yet he has a kinsman redeemer that “will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25). At that time all things will be made right. In verse 29 he reminds his friends that a judgment is coming. Job will be redeemed. The wicked will be judged.
Job has embraced a truth that is hard for us to grasp. Now is so real to us.… Now is often so painful that we find it difficult to look beyond now to eternity. Now is never more than an instant. In reality there is only past and future. The Apostle Paul explained to the Philippians, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Ph’p 3:13-14).
How was Paul able to do that? Knowing the rejection and pain in which Paul lived, how could he live in that way? Paul went on to explain.
Philippians 3:20-21 (ESV)
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Paul’s words sound an awful lot like Job’s. They were able to look beyond now, forgetting the past, and hoping in the future because they knew they had a savior/redeemer who would renew and transform them in the future. “And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:26). Job and Paul lived by the same hope. That hope changes everything. Now is not forever. It is just now, and now only lasts an instant. Now is never forever. Forever is where our hope lies in a God who transcends time and is able “subject all things to himself.” With Job we can trust him no matter how dark things feel today.
How do you help someone who is stuck in the darkness? How do you bring hope to the hopeless? All we can do is point them to Jesus and pray. He is our savior and redeemer. He is our hope. He can be theirs as well.