Sunday, October 20, 2013
He Will Never Turn His Back on You
Job 7:19 Will you not look away from me for a while,
let me alone until I swallow my spittle?
Job responds to his friends and speaks out in the midst of his frustration. Why does God have to keep looking at him? Can't God seek that he is miserable? If only God would turn his back for just a moment -- then God would not see the sins in Job's life. That phrase, "until I swallow my spittle" is a saying to this day in the Middle East -- meaning just a moment of time; enough time to stop talking and swallow the spit in my mouth. Or, give me a moment to parch my thirst with a drink and swallow the spit. But God won't -- he won't turn away, not even for a second. Not only does God continue to see everything, but God's face continues to shine on Job.
I remember a number of times as a young mom that I would wake up during the night because it felt that there were eyes on me. Looking into the darkness I'd see the frame of a little girl who'd gotten out of bed and wanted desperately to talk to her Mommy, or climb in bed to be comforted. She wouldn't touch me or try to awaken me -- but there was something about sensing the presence of that precious little person in the room that would awaken me -- knowing that those eyes were on me.
Just as a mom as radar to sense the eyes of a little child on her while she sleeps, so Job was sensing the eyes of God on him. In his frustration with life he wanted to do something -- to sin -- but he didn't want God to see it! If only God would stop looking at me! But God will NEVER stop looking on his children. He loves us too much to turn his back on us and so, no matter how many times we turn our back on him, or in frustration or anger we kick at him, he will continue to look at us -- his eyes filled with love.
We are called to reflect the Image, and we can only reflect what we are facing. It is we who have turned our backs on God and are reflecting the world that we see around us. We are the ones who are uncomfortable with God still looking our way, wishing that we could hide our sins from him, but we can't because in his gracious love he refuses to take his gaze from us.
No, God will never turn his back on you or on me. This means that our capacity to reflect the Image will never be totally lost -- no matter how long my back is turned on God, and no matter how filthy I become because of sin. If only I will turn around and face God, he will still always be there looking at me with love-filled eyes, drawing me back toward him and I will once again reflect him. My ability to reflect God is never completely lost, because God will not look away, not even long enough to swallow some spit. That's how much he loves you and me. And that is my God -- the one in whom I can put my trust!
Lord, thank you for your tenacious love. Amen.