Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wisdom in the Mines

Dear friends,
There, smack dab in the middle of the book of Job, is a lesson on mining.  When I think of mines, my imagination wanders to dirty men with flashlights on their helmets, and gut wrenching stories of tunnel collapses, and long, dark mazes deep underground where human beings really don’t belong.  I wonder what mining was like in Job’s day, before Herculean power earth movers and OSHA regulations.  Job scrapes his boils, sick and tired of his friends’ lectures, probably sick and tired of his own complaining, and takes a side trip to the deep dark places, a metaphor for his life.
The book of Job has become strangely comforting to me.  It was not long ago at all that I got an acidy feeling in my stomach when I saw it coming on my Navigator’s bible reading plan.  Each day I would open to the chapter and verse, and brace myself to enter into another man’s profound suffering.  But somehow over these weeks I have come to love this book.  I think it’s because I see so much of myself in Job…not in any way to compare my suffering to his, but finding kinship in my response to suffering.
One moment, Job is railing, complaining, accusing.  The next he says “I know that my redeemer lives.”  One moment he decries his whole life, the next he says “though He slay me, yet I will trust him.”  But of all the chapters that have moved me in this book so far, Job 28 tops them all.
The sorry soul takes a break to ponder the depths of a mine, and the unique place of the miner cutting through earth, trolling through darkness, and finding treasures impossible to unearth in the light.  He makes a hard turn in verse 20, when he asks: “Where then, does wisdom come from?  Where does understanding dwell.”  Sorely tested, Job desperately wants understanding.  He sees, even through unimaginable pain, that:
“It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
   concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction[b] and Death say,
   “Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it
   and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
   and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
   and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
   and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
   he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
   “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
   and to shun evil is understanding.”
God alone owns the mines of wisdom and understanding.  There are things in this mortal veil we’ll never, ever figure out.  But the book of James holds out this promise:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
I need wisdom for my every day.  And I am filled with gratitude that He gives it generously, and especially without finding fault.  I continue to try to find my way through a dark mine, with countless dead ends and wrong turns.  By His grace, I can cry out for understanding and direction in a world gone mad, and in an astonishing act of mercy, He takes me around the next bend.  I am still alive.  I still love God.  I am His and He is mine.
And I believe, with tears, that there’s gold in them there hills.  Down deep, there are treasures in the darkness. Faith.  Hope.  Dare I say, JOY.
Your friend on the pilgrim road,


  1. Hi Loriann,

    Talk about trials I keep trying to comment and lose my comment!!

    I just wanted to say we are here and are praying and I certainly as many others do understand this "darkness" and trials (yes with an s more than one trial) that you are walking through. I am walking with you. I am praying for you. All of us experience in this life some pain, sorrow, sickness and horrible struggle. Sometimes I see people who "seemingly" have it all and seem so "happy on the outside" later on I hear of some internal struggle or problem they are experiencing...the outside may look good but inside there is a struggle. Many great men and women of God have gone through what is called "the dark night of the soul" where everything is just intense darkness. Martin Luther, Moses, Peter, John Calvin, Jesus, St. Terese to name a few suffered this dark night. In this intense trial, when we choose the "high road" God is working in us a holy determination to walk and move with him which stirs an intense determination and begins to ignite a fire and light in the darkness..friction creates fire and it is happening in us. Even though you are in that mine..the darkness..that gold nugget of truth is within you bringing forth a light in your darkness that is a testimony and encouragement to those around you..that treasure of truth brings forth light in the darkness..How do I know?? I too am experiencing a dark night of mine own and thorough HIM we will grow together my dearest friend. In darkness shining out too...Jane

  2. Dearest Jane,

    Your comment means more than I can say...though I am sad for your pain, it is encouraging to be reminded of the value in suffering. I will pray for you...and thank you for your persistence to comment. Pray I do not lose heart, friend!