Sometimes, we can experience so much pain that we go to dark, depressing, and even scary places in our minds. God put Job’s honest, non-religious, genuine feelings in the Bible to let us know He understands. Suffering messes with us; it affects how we see our lives and how we look back on the blessings and gifts that we have had. It can sour our emotions and steal our hope. Sometimes, it causes us to envy wicked people. Suffering messes with our physical bodies and our correct response to physical appetites. We see the effects of suffering in God’s servant, Job, and can learn how devastating it can be to our sense of hope, blessing, love, and life. God knows, God cares, and God hears us when we pray.
This blog is for study and encouragement purposes. I’m not a therapist; this is a Bible Study blog about suffering, and this isn’t meant as a substitute for the advice of a physician, psychotherapist, or other medical professional.
After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birthJob 3:1
Job was hit with the worst of suffering on every side. He sustained the significant loss of loved ones and his children; he lost his property and wealth. He also suffered immensely with pain and affliction in his body. God had previously blessed Job with tremendous wealth and blessing; when he lost it, he lost his will to live. Among other things, God wants to show us through Job’s tragedy that we can become captured by the pain of our suffering, which can lead us to dark places. Job wrote poetry about suffering to the point of regretting his life, which brought him blessings. God curbed Job’s thinking before it came to the end of self-harm. We can see how he teeters on the edge because of his pain and loss.
3 Let the day on which I was born perish, And the night which announced: ‘There is a man-child conceived.’ 4 May that day be darkness; Let God above not care about it,Nor light shine on it.
10 Because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb,
Nor hide trouble from my eyes.
11 “Why did I not die at birth, Come forth from the womb and expire? 12 “Why did the knees receive me? And why the breasts, that I would nurse? 13 “For now I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept then, I would have been at rest [in death],16“Or like a miscarriage which is hidden and put away, I would not exist, Like infants who never saw light.Job 3:3-4,10,11-16
Suffering Dwarfs Blessings
It’s essential to read Job like a book of poetry that it is. It’s designed to trudge up the emotions of the reader. In this case, the writer is expressing pain and hopelessness. In cursing the day he was born, Job tells us that the pain is so great that he would trade every good thing and day not to feel the current pain. He cursed the breasts that fed him for the same reason. If he had died of starvation as an infant, he wouldn’t be feeling the pain he’s feeling right now. Suffering can be all-encompassing and can dwarf the blessings we’ve had through life and give us tunnel vision that keeps us depressed. Because of his suffering, Job denies and regrets God’s blessings. We should share our sorrows and our true feelings with God. He’s not shocked by anything. However, Proverbs 21:12 says to overcome evil with good. We can’t get out of these negative places without considering the blessings God gave us, too.
“For now I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept then, I would have been at rest [in death], 14 With kings and counselors of the earth, Who built up [now desolate] ruins for themselves; 15 Or with princes who had gold, Who filled their houses with silver. 16 “Or like a miscarriage which is hidden and put away, I would not exist, Like infants who never saw light.Job 3:13-19
17 “There [in death] the wicked cease from raging, And there the weary are at rest.18 “There the prisoners rest together; They do not hear the taskmaster’s voice.19 “The small and the great are there,And the servant is free from his master.
Why Not Me? Blinded by the Pain
Do you ever see someone whose life looks great, and you envy them? You get angry that they don’t have to experience the trauma you must endure. He was in the lowest place of sorrow, to the point of envying the wicked because they have a reprieve from suffering before eternal punishment. We must remember that our hurt can close our eyes to the truth that can help and save us. We learn from Job’s extreme emotions that it’s best never to make any permanent decision when we are suffering. Pain clouds wisdom and can cause us to do regrettable things. We must wait until those clouds clear (and they will) and our emotions aren’t clouding our vision.
20 “Why is the light given to him who is in misery, And life to the bitter in soul,21 Who wait for death, but it does not come, And dig (search) for death more [diligently] than for hidden treasures,22 Who rejoice exceedingly, And rejoice when they find the grave?23 “Why is the light of day given to a man whose way is hidden, And whom God has hedged in? 24 “For my groaning comes at the sight of my food, And my cries [of despair] are poured out like water.25Job 3:20-25
“For the thing which I greatly fear comes upon me, And that of which I am afraid has come upon me.
I don’t think you’ve lived long enough on this earth if you have not asked the question at least once: Why me? Why am I having to deal with this? What did I do to deserve this? We often question God, His justice, mercy, and compassion in our pain. After all, we reason, He has the power to stop this, so why doesn’t He? We see how Job’s normal appetites are affected by his despair. His faith is shaken because of his trials. Fear creeps in with the thoughts that God isn’t protecting us; what else can happen? These are great tests of our faith. In my years, I’ve realized that there is rarely an answer to the “Why” question. We don’t have the mental bandwidth or spiritual insight to see the whole picture until we reach heaven. As we question these things that have no answers on the earth, it always leads to a depressing path towards confusion. It blocks us from receiving the goodness of God.
26 “I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, And I am not at rest, and yet trouble still comes [upon me].”
Haven’t I Suffered Enough?
Job wonders in verse 26 why he is still suffering after he feels that he’s suffered enough. We need to endure no heavenly quota of suffering to get to heaven. Our suffering doesn’t pay for our sins; Jesus did that on the cross. You may or may not suffer consequences for things you have done or not done, but they are separate from penance for sin. If you feel guilty for something you’ve done, take care of that now, not by suffering but by accepting Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins and receiving god’s forgiveness because Jesus paid the price. It’s simple. If you are suffering, go to God and ask Him for wisdom, comfort, and peace.
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.Romans 5:8-10
I AM NOT
I’m not a counselor or a therapist. This is a Bible study into the precepts of the Bible and those who suffer. If you are plagued with thoughts of suicide or death or want to give up, you feel better off dead, reach out to a professional counselor, a doctor, or a therapist. Don’t do it once; keep on reaching out. Call the suicide hotline, which is there for you. See the number below. Don’t give up; God loves you and has a plan for your life.