But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;
he speaks to them in their affliction.
He is wooing you from the jaws of distress
to a spacious place free from restriction,
to the comfort of your table laden with choice food. Job 36:15-16
Sometimes the distress comes on heavy; the anxiety runs deep. Some days feel hopeless and the hurt is so oppressive it’s suffocating. These are days often consumed with words like “why” or straight up accusations regarding fairness and what is perceived as just. But for those who have the courage to listen, God is speaking.
In our affliction, in our pain, in our imprisonment—God is speaking. He is not speaking words of shame. He is not speaking words of judgment. He is not speaking of our mistakes that brought us to the distress we find ourselves in.
He is speaking words that woo. He is drawing us, calling us, inviting and enticing us.
God is wooing us to the place of freedom, to the place of comfort and fulfillment. He is speaking to us. And sometimes we can only hear because we hurt. Sometimes it is only in our affliction that we even give an effort to listen.
God is in love with us. He is recklessly and hopelessly in love with us to the point that he will stop at nothing to draw us to him. And he knows us. He knows that sometimes we hear more clearly when we hurt. Sometimes a little desperation and distress are the only things that will draw us near.
“Does that mean God caused my pain? That we wants me to hurt?”
It’s so tempting to put those two together. To assume that if God allowed it—allowed me to suffer or struggle—that somehow he wants me to hurt. But his love goes far deeper. What he wants is for us to know him, to fall into his love with fathomless depths. What he wants is fullness of life for us where we experience the raging torrent of his passion over us.
As I’ve said before, our God has a reckless love for us. He will stop at nothing to woo us to him. If you have the courage to listen, God is speaking. He is speaking words of love, words that woo. He is speaking in your affliction and pain. Because he knows that sometimes that’s the only place we’ll listen.
For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. Lamentations 3:31-33