Job's young friend, Elihu said to him, “He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction” (Job 36:16). What a surprising piece of insight from this otherwise unhelpful friend. Our response to distress is often to wonder if God has forgotten us. But the truth is the exact opposite. God is using our very distress to draw us into a deeper relationship with him.
A similar thought is expressed in Psalm 66:11-12, "You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance." God has an end result in mind, for us to be like Jesus. Here it is described as, 'a spacious place' or 'a place of abundance'. Unfortunately for us the way to that 'place' is often via distress or 'fire and water'. However God never asks us to go through anything that Jesus hasn't already experienced (Hebrews 4:15).
At such times instead of fighting against God's ways we need to listen more to his voice 'wooing us', knowing that it is out of love for us that he wants us to grow more like him. We need to believe that whatever form our distress takes he is there with us and speaking to us through it.
In Job 42:10-17 we see Job in a spacious place free from the fear and dread of what might happen (Job 3:25) and having a far deeper understanding of God that ever before, even though he was already blameless and upright in God's sight (Job 1:8).
Wherever we are in our relationship with God, he always has leading us into a more spacious place, a more abundant place, so that we might be more like Jesus.
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