He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction … Job 36:16
Job’s young friend, Elihu said this to Job and what an amazing piece of insight it is. 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 by the Psalmist, “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” (Psalm 66:11-12). God has a purpose in mind and that is for us to live free from fear and worry. Here it’s 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.” Yet, God never asks us to go through anything that Jesus hasn’t already experienced (Hebrews 4:15).
At such times instead of resisting God’s ways, we need to listen more closely to his voice “wooing us,” knowing that it’s out of love for us that he wants us to grow spiritually in our relationship with him. We believe that whatever form our distress takes he is there with us and speaking to us through it.
In the end, we see Job in a spacious place free from the fear and dread of what might happen (Job 3:25, Job 42:10-17) and having a far deeper understanding of God that ever before, despite already being blameless and upright in God’s sight (Job 1:8).
Wherever we are with God, he always desires that we grow closer to him.