Light on a Hidden Way
Job 3:23
Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God has hedged in?

When Job put this question he was as far down in the world as a man can be who is not debased by sin. Two things, in this sad time, seem to have smitten Job with most unconquerable pain.

1. He could not make his condition chord with his conviction of what ought to have happened. He had been trained to believe in the axiom; that to be good is to be happy. Now he had been good, and yet here he was as miserable as it was possible for a man to be. And the worst of all was, he could not deaden down to the level of his misery. The light given him on the Divine justice would not let him rest. His subtle spirit, restless, dissatisfied, tried him every moment.

2. There appeared to by light everywhere, except on his own life. If life would strike a fair average; if other good men had suffered too, or even bad men, then he could bear it better. But the world went on just the same. Other homes were full of gladness. Perhaps not many men ever fall into such supreme desolation as this, that is made to centre in the life of this most sorrowful man. But one may reach out in all directions and find men and women who are conscious of the light shining, but who cannot find the way; who, in a certain sense, would be better if they were not so good. The very perfection of their nature is the way by which they are most easily bruised. Keen, earnest, onward, not satisfied to be below their own ideal, they are yet turned so woefully this way and that by adverse circumstances, that, at the last, they either come to accept their life as a doom, and bear it in grim silence, or they cut the masts when the storm comes, and drift a helpless hull broadside to the breakers, to go down finally like a stone. In men and nations you will find everywhere this discord between the longing that is in the soul, and what the man can do. Try to find some solution of the question of the text. We cannot pretend to make the mystery all clear, so that it will give no more trouble. Job, in his trouble, would have lost nothing and gained very much, if he had not been so hasty in coming to the conclusion that God had left him, that life was a mere apple of Sodom, that he had backed up to great walls of fate, and that he had not a friend left on earth. His soul, looking through her darkened windows, concluded the heavens were dark. Is not this now, as it was then, one of the most serious mistakes that can be made? I try to solve great problems of providence, perhaps, when I am so unstrung as to be entirely unfitted to touch their more subtle, delicate, and far-reaching harmonies. As well might you decide on some exquisite anthem when your organ is broken, and conclude there is no music in it because you can make no music of it, as, in such a condition of the life, and such a temper of the spirit, try to find these great harmonies of God. Job and his friends speculate all about the mystery, and their conclusions from their premises are generally correct, but they have forgotten to take in the separate sovereign will of God, as working out a great purpose in the man's life, by which he is to be lifted into a grander reach of insight and experience than ever he had before. They were both wrong and all wrong, God often darkens the way that the melody may grow clear and entire in the soul. If this man could have known — as he sat there in the ashes, bruising his heart on this problem of providence — that, in the trouble that had come upon him, he was doing what one man may do to work out the problem for the world, he might again have taken courage. No man lives to himself. Job's life is but your life and mine, written in larger text...God seldom, perhaps never, works out His visible purpose in one life: how, then, shall He in one life work out His perfect will? Then while we may not know what trials wait on any of us, we .can believe, that as the days in which this man wrestled with his dark maladies are the only days that make him worth remembrance, so the days through which we struggle, finding no way, but never losing the light, will be the most significant we are called to live. Men in all ages have wrestled with this problem of the difference between the conception and the condition. But it is true that "men who suffered countless ills, in battles for the true and just," have had the strongest conviction, like old Latimer, that a way would open in those moments when it seemed most impossible.

(Robert Collyer.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?

WEB: Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?

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