It is written:
“Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” (Job 2:3)
“Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, So that I am a burden to myself?” (Job 7:20)
Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. (Daniel 10:12-13)
During their worst and most horrific trials, both Daniel and Job faced unseen adversaries in the spiritual realm. They did not see these enemies, yet they spoke to God honestly about what they faced.
Philip Yancey has well written:
“One bold message in the Book of Job is that you can say anything to God. Throw at him your grief, your anger, your doubt, your bitterness, your betrayal, your disappointment—he can absorb them all. As often as not, spiritual giants of the Bible are shown contending with God. They prefer to go away limping, like Jacob, rather than to shut God out. In this respect, the Bible prefigures a tenet of modern psychology: you can’t really deny your feelings or make them disappear, so you might as well express them. God can deal with every human response save one. He cannot abide the response I fall back on instinctively: an attempt to ignore him or treat him as though he does not exist. That response never once occurred to Job…“The “behind the curtain” view of proceedings in the unseen world shows that an encounter with the hiddenness of God may badly mislead. It may tempt us to see God as the enemy and to interpret his hiddenness as a lack of concern. Job concluded just that: “God assails me and tears me in his anger.” Those of us in the audience know that Job was mistaken. For one thing, the prologue makes the subtle but important distinction that God did not personally cause Job’s problems. He permitted them, yes, but the account of The Wager presents Satan, not God, as the instigator of Job’s suffering. In any event, God was surely not Job’s enemy. Far from being abandoned by God, Job was getting direct, almost microscopic scrutiny from him. At the very moment Job was pleading for a courtroom trial to present his case, he was actually participating in a trial of cosmic significance—not as the prosecuting attorney jabbing his finger at God, but as the main witness in a test of faith….“From Job, we can learn that much more is going on out there than we may suspect. Job felt the weight of God’s absence; but a look behind the curtain reveals that in one sense God had never been more present. In the natural world, human beings only receive about 30 percent of the light spectrum. (Honeybees and homing pigeons can, for example, detect ultraviolet light waves invisible to us.) In the supernatural realm, our vision is even more limited, and we get only occasional glimpses of that unseen world. An incident in the life of another famous Bible character makes this same point in a very different way. The prophet Daniel had a mild—mild in comparison with Job’s—encounter with the hiddenness of God. Daniel puzzled over an everyday problem of unanswered prayer: why was God ignoring his repeated requests? For twenty-one days Daniel devoted himself to prayer. He mourned. He gave up choice foods. He swore off meat and wine, and used no lotions on his body. All the while he called out to God, but received no answer. Then one day Daniel got far more than he bargained for. A supernatural being, with eyes like flaming torches and a face like lightning, suddenly showed up on a riverbank beside him. Daniel’s companions all fled in terror. As for Daniel, “I had no strength left. My face turned deathly pale and I was helpless.” When he tried talking to the dazzling being, he could hardly breathe. The visitor proceeded to explain the reason for the long delay. He had been dispatched to answer Daniel’s very first prayer, but had run into strong resistance from “the prince of the Persian kingdom.” Finally, after a three-week standoff, reinforcements arrived and Michael, one of the chief angels, helped him break through the opposition. I will not attempt to interpret this amazing scene of the universe at war, except to point out a parallel to Job. Like Job, Daniel played a decisive role in the warfare between cosmic forces of good and evil, though much of the action took place beyond his range of vision. To him, prayer may have seemed futile, and God indifferent; but a glimpse “behind the curtain” reveals exactly the opposite. Daniel’s limited perspective, like Job’s, distorted reality. What are we to make of Daniel’s angelic being who needed reinforcements, not to mention the cosmic wager in Job? Simply this: the big picture, with the whole universe as a backdrop, includes much activity that we never see. When we stubbornly cling to God in a time of hardship, or when we simply pray, more—much more—may be involved than we ever dream. It requires faith to believe that, and faith to trust that we are never abandoned, no matter how distant God seems. At the end, when he heard the Voice from the whirlwind, Job finally attained that faith. God reeled off natural phenomena—the solar system, constellations, thunderstorms, wild animals—that Job could not begin to explain. If you can’t comprehend the visible world you live in, how dare you expect to comprehend a world you cannot even see! Conscious of the big picture at last, Job repented in dust and ashes.” (Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud, 262-266 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan)
Often when we face hardships and trails in this world of suffering, we do so from our limited vantage point. May the Lord help us to see with eyes that go beyond the natural realm.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.