Things Too Wonderful For Me
“Hey Catholic! What are your plans for Lent?” I said to my dear friend this morning. (Our relationship is deep enough to where frank stereotypes are not offensive.)
Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. It is also the day before my third wedding anniversary. How are these two things linked? Well Lent is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Marriage is a (longer) season of learning forgiveness, sacrifice, and completeness which prepares me for my Resurrected King on the Second Coming.
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6)
I would like to share an exert from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this passage in Job:
Job subscribes to the truth of God’s unlimited power, knowledge, and dominion, to prove which was the scope of God’s discourse out of the whirlwind, v. 2. Corrupt passions and practices arise either from some corrupt principles or from the neglect and disbelief of the principles of truth; and therefore true repentance begins in the acknowledgement of the truth, 2 Tim. 2:25. Job here owns his judgment convinced of the greatness, glory, and perfection of God, from which would follow the conviction of his conscience concerning his own folly in speaking irreverently to him. 1. He owns that God can do everything. What can be too hard for him that made behemoth and leviathan, and manages both as he pleases? He knew this before, and had himself discoursed very well upon the subject, but now he knew it with application. God had spoken it once, and then he heard it twice, that power belongs to God; and therefore it is the greatest madness and presumption imaginable to contend with him. “Thou canst do everything, and therefore canst raise me out of this low condition, which I have so often foolishly despaired of as impossible: I now believe thou art able to do this.’’ 2. That no thought can be withheld from him, that is, (1.) There is no thought of ours that he can be hindered from the knowledge of. Not a fretful, discontented, unbelieving thought is in our minds at any time but God is a witness to it. It is in vain to contest with him; for we cannot hide our counsels and projects from him, and, if he discover them, he can defeat them. (2.) There is no thought of his that he can be hindered from the execution of. Whatever the Lord pleased, that did he. Job had said this passionately, complaining of it (ch. 23:13), What his soul desires even that he does; now he says, with pleasure and satisfaction, that God’s counsels shall stand. If God’s thoughts concerning us be thoughts of good, to give us an unexpected end, he cannot be withheld from accomplishing his gracious purposes, whatever difficulties may seem to lie in the way.
I apologize for the somewhat confusing King James language, but I hope that you gleaned a beautiful depth to Job’s words. The book of Job is often challenging to read, but also very relatable to me. Why then did I choose to share this passage with you? Well I believe penance, reflection, and fasting are healthy and humble postures for someone, like myself, who often leans towards self-centered inclinations. But also, as Matthew Henry said, “true repentance begins in the acknowledgement of the truth.” So whatever God leads me to focus on these next forty-six days, will be between Him and I. But I encourage you to seek out “the things too wonderful,” as Job did.
For you are dust, and to dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:19)
The Valley of Armageddon, Israel 2007