“And now no one looks on the light when it is bright in the skies, when the wind has passed and cleared them. Out of the north comes golden splendor; God is clothed with awesome majesty.”
Job 37:21-22 (emphasis added)
“I know [God] is interested/takes joy in my life, but I can’t see the look on His face when I talk to Him. I can’t hear the sound of His voice.” I was embarrassed at how childish my plea sounded as I talked with one of my best friends earlier. Of course, you can’t see God’s face. Not even Moses on Mount Sinai was that privileged. Elijah listened for the sound of His voice but only heard a whisper. Doesn’t Jesus praise the one who believes without seeing? Yes, I have believed in Him for salvation, and one day, I know I will see my Savior face to face. So why does my heart ache with this loneliness? This craving for physical companionship?
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.”
Job, the patriarch known for his suffering, also yearned to hear God’s voice. Although I hesitate to say that I can even remotely understand the depth of his agony, I can relate to the longing in his soul . . . for answers, for a word from his Lord. His friends didn’t prove to be much help or comfort in this endeavor. Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu won’t be winning any “Friends of the Year” awards, that’s for sure. However, tucked inside their criticisms and demands for Job to “suck it up,” I found some very inspiring words. After listening to Job’s cries, Elihu speaks one last time:
“My heart pounds as I think of this. It trembles within me. Listen carefully to the thunder of God’s voice as it rolls from his mouth. Then comes the roaring thunder—the tremendous voice of his majesty. He does not restrain when he speaks. God’s voice is glorious in the thunder” (Job 37:1-2,4-5 NLT).
The writer’s heart in me does flip flops to read these words. What an awesome picture (or in this case, sound) Elihu paints inside my mind! God’s voice is booming, and I can hear it! Am I listening??
Hours after that all-too-brief phone call with my “adopted” big brother, I grabbed my walking shoes, my music and my earbuds. I needed to go for a walk alone before the last minutes of daylight disappeared beyond the horizon. As I headed out the door, I remembered our talk earlier and said a quick prayer that I might hear God’s voice and see His face. What met my eyes my words cannot describe, but I will try.
When my feet hit the pavement of our uneven sidewalk, my eyes glanced up at the sky, and I felt my breath catch in my throat. The most majestic clouds of all shapes, sizes and shades billowed above every rooftop and shining through them were the last radiant rays of the sunshine. I imagined what it looked like on the beach at that moment, but I took in the beauty of the view from my own little neighborhood. For a moment, time stood still and I saw His face.
My heart beats a little faster when I walk close to the Lord in His creation. On those rare mornings when I arise before the house and the sun, I like to sneak outside with the motivation to see the sunrise and listen for the sounds of a new day breaking. I’m thrilled by the singing birds and the occasional rabbit hopping across my path. As I walk, I position myself so that I will be in direct view of the eastern sky. I can’t see it from my front door, but as I turn the corner and the first golden beams peak out from behind the trees, a smile spreads wide across my face and my steps feel a little lighter. I like to think that God did that just for me, and I’m exuberantly gracious.
But did you catch the key to not missing those sweet moments? I must position myself in view of the rising sun. I have to be intentional in rising early and purposeful in directing my steps. If I intend to see Him, I must seek Him.
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
It should come as no surprise that my favorite place to watch the sun rise and set is on the beach of our beautiful lake. During my walks there, I often feel giddy with the joy of it. I love sharing this special treasure with my kids. On one such evening in early fall, I sat back and watched my children splash and play. They weren’t entirely oblivious to the sun setting behind them. As she pointed to the sky, my little girl exclaimed, “Mommy, look! Fire!” Indeed, it did look like a fire building behind the clouds!
Tonight, for a fleeting moment, I saw that same fire. Silently, I thanked God for revealing Himself to me one more time. As I turned toward home, I listened for His voice in the rustling of the leaves and remembered how it echoed in the sounds of the waves. And I didn’t feel so lonely anymore . . .
“Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me . . . His eyes were like flame of fire . . . and his voice was like the roar of many waters.”