I am continuing on the theme of Bible verses that speak to an illuminated life. The next verse listed in Writing in the Margins on this topic is Job 33:24:
He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.
As I was preparing to illustrate this verse, I enjoyed reading Elihu, the Forgotten Prophet, a blog post that made me pause and read Elihu’s words more carefully. Before illustrating this passage I never gave much thought to the message of Elihu. I remembered Job’s lament and his three friends and their failure to console. And who can forget God’s long statement about mortal before the Almighty, the longest monologue from God in the Bible? In between is the voice of Elihu, bursting to tell of God’s greatness. There’s something both endearing and youthful, yet also very wise about his words. Elihu reminds us of our common humanity. He encourages us to keep looking to the light even in the midst of our troubles, to have faith in God’s greatness, and to be open to what God wants to teach us. He reminds us that God cares for us equally and is present with us in our times of trial. He tells us that the God has imparted wisdom to us is to help us live better for each other, not that we can really do anything to God.
I read this passage in a number of different translations before it started to come into focus for me (Elihu is a bit wordy and hard for me to follow!). It’s a happy accident that I really like the ESV translation of Job 33:24 best. The verse reminded me of a quote attributed to Helen Keller:
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.
As I illustrated my sunflower, I reflected on how it blooms and thrives in harsh prairie conditions, often with little water. I’d like my life to be a lot like a sunflower with my face always toward the light, even when the conditions of life are difficult and to always remember the wisdom of Elihu: