Scripture to meditate on:
Job continued his discourse:
“How I long for the months gone by,
for the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone on my head
and by his light I walked through darkness!
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
and my children were around me,
when my path was drenched with cream
and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.
“When I went to the gate of the city
and took my seat in the public square,
the young men saw me and stepped aside
and the old men rose to their feet;
the chief men refrained from speaking
and covered their mouths with their hands;
the voices of the nobles were hushed,
and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.
Whoever heard me spoke well of me,
and those who saw me commended me,
because I rescued the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to assist them.
The one who was dying blessed me;
I made the widow’s heart sing.
I put on righteousness as my clothing;
justice was my robe and my turban.
I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy;
I took up the case of the stranger.
I broke the fangs of the wicked
and snatched the victims from their teeth.
“I thought, ‘I will die in my own house,
my days as numerous as the grains of sand.
My roots will reach to the water,
and the dew will lie all night on my branches.
My glory will not fade;
the bow will be ever new in my hand.’
“People listened to me expectantly,
waiting in silence for my counsel.
After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
my words fell gently on their ears.
They waited for me as for showers
and drank in my words as the spring rain.
When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
the light of my face was precious to them.
I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;
I dwelt as a king among his troops;
I was like one who comforts mourners.” – Job 29
In Chapter 29 Job continues his discourse on his former life of prosperity and plenty. Given Job’s circumstances, looking back at all that he lost must have been especially tempting.
From time to time, we all become wistful about some past season of life; a longing for a childhood summer, a home that was welcoming, a relationship that was satisfying. All of these memories stir a profound longing in us that recollection alone cannot seem to fulfill.
C.S. Lewis wrote about this kind of longing. In The Weight of Glory, Lewis says, “Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty, and behave as if that settles the matter.” But Lewis concludes that even if we could somehow travel back to that longed-for moment it would be crushed by the weight of our own expectations.
“We would not have found the thing itself but only a reminder of it… Now we wake to find we have been mere spectators. Our life long nostalgia, our longing to be reunited to something in the universe from which we feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation.”
“How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me…” – Job 29:2
Questions to ponder:
- What would Lewis conclude is Job’s “real situation”?
- What is ours?