But I tell you, in this you are not right,
For God is greater than man.
Why do you complain to him that he answers none of man’s words?
For God does speak – now one way, now another –
though man may not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men
as they slumber in their beds,
He may speak in their ears
and terrify them with warnings,
To turn man from wrongdoing
and keep him from pride,
To preserve his soul from the pit,
His life from perishing by the sword.
Or a man may be chastened on a bed of pain
With constant distress in his bones,
So that his very being finds food repulsive
And his soul loathes the choicest meal.
His flesh wastes away to nothing
And his bones, once hidden, now stick out.
His soul draws near to the pit,
and his life to the messengers of death.
Yet if there is an angel on his side
As a mediator, one out of a thousand,
To tell a man what is right for him,
To be gracious to him and say,
“Spare him from going down to the pit;
I have found a ransom for him” –
Then his flesh is renewed like a child’s;
It is restored as in the days of his youth.
He prays to God and finds favor with him,
He sees God’s face and shouts for joy;
He is restored by God to his righteous state.
Then he comes to men and says,
“I sinned, and perverted what was right,
But I did not get what I deserved.
He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit
And I will live to enjoy the light.”
God does all these things to a man –
Twice, even three times –
To turn back his soul from the pit,
That the light of life may shine on him.
photo credit: angel of sweetbitter 2009