“Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” John 12:21
Updated: May 28, 2021
The other day I was sitting on a bench outside of an empty restaurant waiting to have lunch with friends. I was reading as I waited. The passage that day was the beginning of the book of Job, which I have made it a practice to read when I am wrestling with hardships in my own life. This time I was somewhat detached in my reading this time. Job had a good life. Then, due to a test from a fallen angel with the approval of the Most High God, everything began to fall apart. His livelihood was stolen and his beloved children were all killed. Finally, Job reacts. Job 1:20 informs us that he tore his clothes and shaved his head to express the depths of his sorrow. But his next response is mind-blowing. He bowed down to the ground to worship God.
This convicted me to the heart. I am comfortable, even familiar, with the act of expressing my sorrow and my discontent before God. I have fasted with the intention of demanding that he pay attention to me. I have prayed long, demanding answers. I have sat in silence, waiting for him to explain why this has happened, waiting for him to show me how he could redeem this and use it for some greater plan. But Job doesn’t blame God. He doesn’t even question. Job simply worships.
The following evening I heard a question posed, “Do we come to God because he is useful or because he is beautiful?” This echoed the thoughts that had been in my heart since that moment. And it reminded me of a longing that can get lost in the rush and the noisiness of my life. Job didn’t worship out of fear, but faith. God is, by nature, beautiful. He is mystery enticing. He is life-shattering and all-powerful. But he is also imminently present, Immanuel, God with us. Job’s response spoke to my heart, showing me what I want my heart response to God to be.
And in that moment, sitting in silence, simply being present, God was present in the moment with me. As I worshipped, he was there. And as I pushed the questions aside, they ceased to matter because all that mattered was simply being in his presence.