In Job we come to this question and Job struggles to find the answer. In due course his mind becomes clearer and his hope in the future more sure. Today we read of his pleading with God, “Oh that you would hide me in sheol (AV, ‘the grave’), that you would conceal me until your wrath is past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me” (14:13).

After saying this he asks the question, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” His answer? “All the days of my service I would wait until my renewal should come. You would call, and I would answer you …” (verses 14,15) and it would be the time, Job says to God, “you would cover over my iniquity” (verse 17).

These questions and words are a prelude to his declaration in chapter 19, “For I know that my redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God. Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold …” (verses 25-27).

We notice how Job is now giving up reasoning out his thoughts with the three ‘friends’ and spends at least part of his responses addressing his thoughts to God. At the end of the book God dramatically answers him in a most meaningful way. We perceive a sort of parallel we might have with our ‘friends’ today, our neighbours, our school or workmates, that their way of thinking, their perceptions of the cause and meaning of life is totally astray! They rarely listen to us so as to take in the points we make.

The time comes when we give up trying to reason with them, and concentrate more on our own perceptions of – and relationship with – God and His Son. We have found that our meditation can become so deep that we will empathise with Job who, after seeing and saying, “I shall see God … my eyes shall behold”, his next words are, “My heart faints within me” (19:27).