I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me. You have turned cruel to me (Job 30:20-21).
These words came out of the mouth of the man God considered the most blameless and upright on earth at the time (Job 1:8).
Thank you, God, for these words! Thank you that the Bible is so guileless. It says it like it is, and sometimes just what it feels like. Most of its heroes are unvarnished and clay-footed. Sometimes they wonder if you’re cruel. That’s a mercy to all of us shortsighted, weak, doubting, clay-footed stumblers. There’s hope for us.
Can you identify with Job? You cry out to God in your affliction and you see nothing change. It seems like he’s just standing there watching you writhe. It feels cruel.
But this is not, in fact, true. What is true is that God is doing far more in our affliction than we know.
For Job, he did not know that he was putting Satan to shame by trusting in God despite his desolate confusion. He did not know that his experience would encourage millions for millennia. And like Job, we do not know what mind-blowing designs God has in store for what may feel unbearable and appear cruel today.
But we do know this: God was answering Job when it seemed he wasn’t. And God was remembering David when David cried, “Will you forget me forever?” (Psalm 13:1). And when Jesus cried, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), God had turned his face away from our sin, only to raise his Son from the dead to undying, unsurpassed, and eternal glory.
Your suffering may be inscrutable today. But in reality it is preparing for you “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Take heart and hold on.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10).