Chapter 10:11-22 (ESV) - You clothed me with skin and flesh,
and knit me together with bones and sinews.
You have granted me life and steadfast love,
and your care has preserved my spirit.
Yet these things you hid in your heart;
I know that this was your purpose.
If I sin, you watch me
and do not acquit me of my iniquity.
If I am guilty, woe to me!
If I am in the right, I cannot lift up my head,
for I am filled with disgrace
and look on my affliction.
And were my head lifted up, you would hunt me like a lion
and again work wonders against me.
You renew your witnesses against me
and increase your vexation toward me;
you bring fresh troops against me.
Why did you bring me out from the womb?
Would that I had died before any eye had seen me
and were as though I had not been,
carried from the womb to the grave.
Are not my days few?
Then cease, and leave me alone, that I may find a little cheer
before I go—and I shall not return—
to the land of darkness and deep shadow,
the land of gloom like thick darkness,
like deep shadow without any order,
where light is as thick darkness.
Question to consider: What can you do to bless a neighbor in pain?
Today Job continued his questions of why God would take such care in creating him and giving him life only to let his days be short and full of suffering. In Job’s mind, God had shown steadfast love and built up his life only to tear him down, and yet He still allowed him to live. If Job had done some kind of sin against God, God kept it hidden in His heart.
If Job had sinned, he pronounced a woe upon himself, essentially saying he deserved to be punished for his iniquity. If he was innocent, he was afraid to even look up from his affliction in case he were to increase God’s anger toward him. Ultimately, Job didn’t understand why he was even allowed to have survived the womb if everything was to be taken from him in this manner. If this was the case, his desire was that God would relent from this punishment for whatever days he had left so that he might find a little cheer before he died.
Job’s despair was understandable given that Job felt completely stuck in this moment of pain and was deceived into thinking that it all came from God. It is hard to see beyond our moments of suffering because they can be overwhelming. We don’t see a future in which we get beyond the pain. Job’s friends should have been there to reassure him that there is life beyond pain and that God would work through it. Instead they added to his pain by blaming him for it.
In Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Paul wrote that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26) Job did not have this benefit, and he did not yet have the hope of Christ’s coming. He longed for someone like Christ who could be his advocate before God.
Along with the Holy Spirit, it also helps to have some faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who can bring us comfort. Today’s passage should stir up in us a desire to be mindful of other people’s pain so that we can be a comfort and not a burden. If you are experiencing pain like this, I encourage you to reach out to me or someone in your church so that you can get the support you need.
I can’t emphasize enough that all who belong to Christ need to be connected with a church that faithfully preaches the word of God and administers His good gifts to us. Whether you are in need or can meet someone else’s need, we are called to be the body of Christ. As difficult as it can be to live in community with other people, Christ calls us to do so. He loved the church and gave Himself up for her knowing that there would be difficult people and hypocrites along the way.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for sending Your Spirit to comfort us and help us in our prayers. Thank You for the life we have in Christ and for giving us Your word and sacraments. Help us to find a church in which we can faithfully serve and be served. Amen.