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Sometimes it's hard to sense God's presence. Job struggled with that. He had lost everything, apparently without any logical explanation behind all the terrible events in his life. Job 23 describes his frustration at not being able to "find" God and explain things. He desperately wanted to defend himself and prove to the Almighty that God had made a mistake in allowing all this disaster to come into Job's life.

We know the beginning of Job's story so we understand what he didn't. We know that there was a battle going on in heaven that was behind all that Job was going through. But he didn't, although in this chapter Job got as close to the explanation as it is possible to get without knowing the backstory.

Job couldn't "find" God but nevertheless he said: "But he knows the way that I take; and when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold" (23:10, NIV). There might have been a touch of arrogance in Job's words, but there was a whole lot of truth as well.

Even when we have a hard time understanding where God is in a particular situation; what He is doing and why He is allowing our lives to take the twists and turns that they often do, we can be assured that He knows where we are. And in the end that's what counts.

Bearing up under the crushing load of life is not easy. Having allowed God to examine us for any obvious consequences of our own making that brought about the difficulties we are suffering, and having allowed Him to correct those as necessary, we are left with the same answer as Job gave.

"It's a test and I need to exercise faith that God is here even when I can't detect Him. I need to trust Him to refine me through this process."

I recently went a tour of a gold mine. When explaining how the gold bars were produced the tour guide mentioned that the ore goes through a series of filtering processes to remove the impurities, ending with a Borax solution that separates the gold from anything that is a contaminant. Then the gold is melted at close to 2000 degrees. When it is melts it is possible to pour it into the molds that make gold bars. By the time it is poured it is 99% pure.

If gold had a voice I would bet that it would say that the process to purity was painful. But the process to purity requires the skillful and careful hand of the person handling both the impure ore and the fire that will turn it into a bar of pure gold. That's God.

He's there even when we can't see Him, even when life is painful. But we can know that the end of the process, however painful, will be a good one.


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