Saturday, October 3, 2015

Job 17:13-16 -- On Hopelessness and Finding our Way Home

"If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.
I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister.
And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?
They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust."
Job 17:13-16

This doesn't seem very hopeful, does it?  And I don't think it is meant to be.  The lesson here, perhaps, is a different one.  It isn't telling us all the reasons that we have to hope.  It is acknowledging that no matter who we are, or how righteous, not everything is going to go right.  Sometimes things are downright wrong... and we're all going to experience the darkness that it talks about here.  Another example is in Lehi's dream (1 Nephi 8:23).  As people were walking towards the tree, the mist of darkness came.  No one avoided it, only some people were able to make it through *despite* it because they held to the iron rod.  And in our lives, there are going to be dark times.  No matter how good we are, no matter how perfectly we live.  Dark times happen to everyone.  The difference is how we face them, and whether we can come out on the other side, or get lost completely.
God's gospel isn't just for the times of light.  It is a preparation so that we will be ready for the darkness.  So that even when things seem hopeless, and like Job all we can look forward to is the release of death, that even then we will have something to hang on to... even if all it is is the memory of light.  And like Job, and like many people from Lehi's dream, we can hold onto that memory, that knowledge, that taste of goodness and light that we still have and can read about and believe in even when we can't feel it... and we can make it through to the other side of the darkness, back into the light, even if the rats jump out at us, and even if we have to crawl part of the way.  We can make it through the dark times because God prepares us so we know how to get back to him, even when we get lost.  That's why he gives us the scriptures, and the church, and the prophets, and the gospel. ... So that we know the way back home, even in the dark.
Today, let's trust in the Lord, and hold on, even in the times of hopelessness and darkness, to his word, and his hand... he will lead us through.

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