Scripture to meditate on:
“Do not mortals have hard service on earth?
Are not their days like those of hired laborers?
Like a slave longing for the evening shadows,
or a hired laborer waiting to be paid,
so I have been allotted months of futility,
and nights of misery have been assigned to me.
When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’
The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn.
My body is clothed with worms and scabs,
my skin is broken and festering.
“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
and they come to an end without hope.
Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath;
my eyes will never see happiness again.
The eye that now sees me will see me no longer;
you will look for me, but I will be no more.
As a cloud vanishes and is gone,
so one who goes down to the grave does not return.
He will never come to his house again;
his place will know him no more.
“Therefore I will not keep silent;
I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit,
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep,
that you put me under guard?
When I think my bed will comfort me
and my couch will ease my complaint,
even then you frighten me with dreams
and terrify me with visions,
so that I prefer strangling and death,
rather than this body of mine.
I despise my life; I would not live forever.
Let me alone; my days have no meaning.
“What is mankind that you make so much of them,
that you give them so much attention,
that you examine them every morning
and test them every moment?
Will you never look away from me,
or let me alone even for an instant?
If I have sinned, what have I done to you,
you who see everything we do?
Why have you made me your target?
Have I become a burden to you?
Why do you not pardon my offenses
and forgive my sins?
For I will soon lie down in the dust;
you will search for me, but I will be no more.” – Job 7
Most all of us have experienced at least some of what Job faced. He speaks of hard labor, sleepless nights, and loss of appetite? In this chapter, Job turns his thoughts toward the larger problem of human suffering. Job seems to be reflecting on the trouble that is inevitable for all of us on earth.
There is little doubt that our lives this side of heaven will include difficulties, and even personal tragedy. Jesus warned his disciples of this simple fact, “… In this world you will have trouble, but fear not, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b). For Christ, overcoming the world, meant going to the cross to pay for our sin. As we empathize with Job’s story of pain and suffering, we can rejoice that Jesus has made it possible for our own struggles to be filled with meaning and purpose because of the promise to be present with us in our hard times.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ“ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
“Is there not hard service of earth for humans? Their days are like the days of a hired laborer.” – Job 7:1
Questions to ponder:
- Have you ever witnessed God use your suffering in some redemptive way?
- Have you ever considered what Jesus would say to you about your pain?
- How can the suffering of Christ ease our own suffering?