Scripture to meditate on:
After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. He said:
“May the day of my birth perish,
and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’
That day—may it turn to darkness;
may God above not care about it;
may no light shine on it.
May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more;
may a cloud settle over it;
may blackness overwhelm it.
That night—may thick darkness seize it;
may it not be included among the days of the year
nor be entered in any of the months.
May that night be barren;
may no shout of joy be heard in it.
May those who curse days curse that day,
those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.
May its morning stars become dark;
may it wait for daylight in vain
and not see the first rays of dawn,
for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me
to hide trouble from my eyes.
“Why did I not perish at birth,
and die as I came from the womb?
Why were there knees to receive me
and breasts that I might be nursed?
For now I would be lying down in peace;
I would be asleep and at rest
with kings and rulers of the earth,
who built for themselves places now lying in ruins,
with princes who had gold,
who filled their houses with silver.
Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child,
like an infant who never saw the light of day?
There the wicked cease from turmoil,
and there the weary are at rest.
Captives also enjoy their ease;
they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout.
The small and the great are there,
and the slaves are freed from their owners.
“Why is light given to those in misery,
and life to the bitter of soul,
to those who long for death that does not come,
who search for it more than for hidden treasure,
who are filled with gladness
and rejoice when they reach the grave?
Why is life given to a man
whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
For sighing has become my daily food;
my groans pour out like water.
What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.
I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil.” – Job 3
After seven days of silent mourning, Job begins to speak and what he says can only be characterized as a complaint; not a lament, not a cry for help.
It’s hard to blame Job for breaking down. I’ve complained over much less; a long line in the grocery store, a crumpled fender, even a lost job. But Job’s losses are much more profound. In chapter three he gives way to complaints. He wishes he had never been born. He has lost his purpose in living. He has lost hope.
In the Psalms we often read David’s laments. Like Job’s complaints, David’s laments are honest, raw and seemingly justified. What sets Job’s complaints apart from the laments we read in the Psalms is to whom they are directed. The author of Job doesn’t tell us that Job is crying out to God in his anger and furry as the Psalmist does. Instead, Job is rehearsing, repeating and wallowing alone, (emotionally, if not physically) in the agony of his pain.
Suffering isn’t pretty. But suffering alone is especially crushing to the spirit. At this point in the story Job is either unable or unwilling to take his pain before God.
In 2 Samuel David cries out to God over the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, his words are moving, powerful and personal. But because they are delivered at the feet of God, in all their raw emotion, David has invited God to begin the process of working on his heart and leading him to healing.
As we have seen, our friend Job is not there yet.
“Why did I not perish at my birth?” – Job 3:11
Questions to ponder:
- Have you ever been unwilling or unable to take your pain or frustration before God?
- Have you ever been able to honestly bring your raw emotions to the foot of God’s throne?
- What do you think would be God’s response to your honest feelings?