Though he had suffered terribly, in every way, Job had not cursed God, as his wife had recommended, nor had he sinned with his mouth against God in any way. But his was no merely stoical suffering. No, he cried out from his pain, and the depth of that pain is evident from his cries: “Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man is conceived’” (3:3). He wished that he had never been born: “Why did I not die at birth?” (3:11).
Job had been blessed so richly throughout his life, and he had followed God. His was a truly significant and blessed life. Riches, reputation, family, health, a name among the greatest of men. But now, the pain is so bad that he would wipe all those experiences from history in order to escape the hurt. Escape in non-existence. He’s in bad shape!
The tunnel is long and dark. The day seems completely without hope. But here’s the Psalmist’s take on such a situation: “Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy in the morning” (Ps 30:5). I remember hearing one of the radio spots from Howard Butts (“The High Calling of Our Daily Work”) in which he told the story of an artist commissioned to create a display that offered, for all who passed by, a wise word, whether they were having a good day or a bad one. The artist produced a simple display with the words “This too shall pass.” For the one having a great day, it was a reminder not to become too cocksure and at ease, for the momentary high will pass. For the one facing seemingly unbearable pain, it was a reminder that the morning will indeed come.
For Job, the road was terribly long and hard, but the morning did come! The Lord did not leave him alone, but came alongside Job and restored him. Eventually, Job would be able to sing:
My times are in Your hand;
my God, I wish them there!
My life, my friends, my soul, I leave
entirely to Your care.
My times are in Your hand
whatever they may be,
pleasing or painful, dark or bright,
as You know best for me. -- William Freeman Lloyd (1824)