(Francis Bourdillon, “The Self-abhorrence of Job” 1864)
“Behold, I am vile!” Job 40:4
At the close of his long trial Job said, “I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear–but now my eye sees You! Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:6-7
What did he mean? Probably, that while he had long known God, as having heard of Him, and in a measure believed in and served Him–yet . . .
now he knew Him far more deeply and closely,
now he had experienced God’s personal dealings,
now he had had great searchings of heart,
now he had learned far more of God than ever he knew before.
How many can say the same! How many can think of some time of sore affliction–and see that at that season and by that means, they learned to know God in a way they had never known Him before–more closely, more deeply, more lovingly. Yes, more lovingly. For this is what God is leading His children to by all His dealings–to know His love to them more, and to love Him more in return.
How many inward comforts does He send in the time of trial!
What deep searchings of heart go on in the silence of a sick-room!
How many earnest prayers are sent up thence!
What sweet thoughts of Christ are given–what a sense of pardon, what peace, what love, what a manifestation of Christ to the soul!
These are the gifts of God–the work of His Spirit the Comforter–the blessings of sanctified affliction!
Shall we repine when God’s chastening hand is laid upon us? Ah, no! Rather let us . . .
look well into our own hearts,
and search out the root of self-righteousness,
and humble ourselves before God,
and shelter ourselves more closely under the shadow of His wing.
He is teaching us and blessing us now. And if, under His teaching, we find ourselves distressed by a new and deeper feeling of our sinfulness–yet let us then think that we are but learning Job’s lesson; and let us be led to cast ourselves more earnestly and entirely upon the merits of Christ our Savior, that in Him we may find rest to our souls.