Then Job spoke again:
“If my misery could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales,
They would outweigh all the sands of the sea. . .
For the Almighty has struck me down with His arrows.
Their poison infects my spirit.
God’s terrors are lined up against me. . .
Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant my desire.
I wish He would crush me. I wish He would reach out His hand and kill me.
At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the Holy One.
But I don’t have the strength to endure.
I have nothing to live for.
Do I have the strength of a stone?
Is my body made of bronze?
No, I am utterly helpless, without any chance of success. Job 6:1-13.
In this passage, Job takes us into the depths of his pain and suffering.
He describes his pain as greater in weight than all the sands of the sea; he sees his spirit as infected by arrows unleashed by God. He wishes that God would just crush and kill him to end it all. He sees himself as having nothing to live for. He is helpless and has nothing going for him.
One of the greatest puzzles in life is when the righteous suffer. When those whom we deem as good people fall into hard times, we are left scratching our heads for answers! Why does God allow that? Why do innocent children get struck with cancer and lose their lives? Why do generous and kind people suddenly lose their lives, leaving their families in shock and disarray?
Why do we ourselves sometimes run into very terrible experiences in life when we believe sincerely that we are walking faithfully with God? That is one of the puzzles about the life of Job.
Of course, we know that God allowed Satan to attack Job. We also know that God restored the fortunes of Job. The truth is: It is still puzzling to see the righteous suffer!
Whilst we might not have adequate answers to these puzzling questions, we can still glean some very valuable lessons from Job in this passage.
First, Job directed all his complaints and questions to God.
As children of God, we should always remember that God is the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) In times of trials, our focus should not be on the people causing us pain, or even the devil, but ultimately upon God who holds us in the Palm of His Hands and who has promised never to leave or forsake us. That is what Jesus Himself did. The Bible tells us that: “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission.” (Hebrews 5:7, NIV). Direct your complaints to God and not to humans.
Second: Job leaves us with another striking lesson: “At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the Holy One.” In spite of all the anguish of not understanding why God had allowed him to be assailed with inexplicable trials, Job maintained his reverence for God. He did not deny the goodness or the sovereignty of God.
As we struggle with unanswered questions during challenging times, let’s take a cue from Job by not denying God. His faithfulness and goodness remain unquestionable.
Prayer: Father, I confess that some of the challenges of life are rather puzzling. Like Job, however, help me to continue to trust you and not to question your goodness and faithfulness. Amen.