“Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, and whom God has hedged in? For my sighing comes before I eat, and my groanings pour out like water. For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes” (Job 3:23-26).
God had allowed Satan to touch all that Job had (Job 1:12). As he did so, Satan took Job’s possessions such as his oxen, donkeys, sheep, and camels. He also killed many of Job’s servants (Job 1:13-17). Satan also took Job’s precious children whom Job had led in worship to God (Job 1:5, 18). By great faith in God, Job bore the tragic news by worshipping God and saying, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:20-21).
God now allows Satan to touch Job himself, but not to take Job’s life (Job 2:6). As Satan does so, he afflicts Job with “painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (Job. 2:7). Job is in such misery the only way he can get some relief is to scrape himself with a potsherd as he sits in the midst of ashes (Job 2:8). His affliction is so bad that when his three friends come to visit him they can’t even recognize him (Job 2:12)! Job’s wife is so discouraged by the loss of her children and what she sees happening to her husband, that her faith is weakened as she says to Job, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). Job has even lost the support and encouragement he might have expected to receive from his wife.
As Job somehow tries to cope with what is happening to him, he begins by wishing he was never born: “May the day perish on which I was born, And the night in which it was said, 'A male child is conceived’” (Job 3:3). Again, he adds, “"Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?” (Job 3:11). He longs for the peace that death can bring: “Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, who long for death, but it does not come, and search for it more than hidden treasures; who rejoice exceedingly, and are glad when they can find the grave?” (Job 3:20-22). As the opening verses above indicate, the thing Job dreaded most has come upon him. He is so miserable he can’t get a moments rest and relief (Job 3:25-26).
I am greatly humbled as I read these verses about Job. His pain and sorrow is incredible. I am thankful that the Scriptures describe in detail his feelings. I believe in His infinite wisdom, God revealed to us these feelings of Job to help us deal with our own pain when we are struggling with our own misery during times of hardship. As Job expresses his pain, God doesn’t jump in and tell him to be quiet. God doesn’t interrupt Job and try to correct Job. God allows Job to express the pain in his heart! Although, as we will learn later in the book of Job, God will correct Job with regard to some things he is thinking and saying, now was not the time to do so. At this time, God knew that Job just needed someone to listen to him. God’s shoulders were big enough to handle Job’s burden.
This assures me that God is big enough to let me describe to Him the mixed feelings I have when I am in misery and struggling with feelings of great despair. It also tells me that God understand me and others who struggle at times with depression. God doesn’t condemn Job for his feelings of sadness and despair. He just listens! Today, I will praise God for his willingness to listen to me when I am struggling with dark feelings and when I question, “Why is this happening to me?”
Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).