Why is Life so Hard?

One night a thief broke into the single-room apartment of French novelist Honore de Balzac. Trying to avoid waking Balzac, the intruder quietly picked the lock on the writer’s desk. Suddenly the silence was broken by a sardonic laugh from the bed, where Balzac lay wa … More

Futility

In this chapter Job talks to God about the seeming futility of his life. He questions as to why God should keep him alive. What is all this suffering accomplishing? Job says, “If I am a great sinner, either pardon my sins or take my life. Either way I will find some peace.” In response to his suffering, Job likens human life to that of a lowly servant or a slave. He is like a weary hired servant who gets no wages (vv. 1-2). He is in such pain that he tosses and turns all night and is unable to get any peace or rest (vv. 3-4). His body is covered with worms (probably eating his dead flesh) and has scabs that were festered with pus (v. 5). In one sense life seems to be dragging agonizingly along, but in another sense it is going by swifter than a weaver’s shuttle (v. 6). It is like wind and a cloud (vv. 7-10).

Job decided he has nothing to lose, so he might as well not hold anything back and tell God what he really thinks. He says that even when his diseased body (v. 4) does not torment him, God frightens him with dreams and visions to the point that he wishes he could die (vv. 11-16). Job felt that God was gazing at him continually and would not let him alone even for an instant.

Job then asked God to tell him how he had sinned. With this urgent request he asks that God forgive him if indeed he has sinned, before it is too late (vv. 17- 20). He seems to be saying that, if he is a sinner, why doesn’t God forgive him and be done with it (v. 21)? His question should have been, “What are you trying to teach me?” rather than, “Why am I having to suffer?” Hurting people need encouragement, not argument. We need to ask God to make our words like a healing medicine (Prov. 12:18).

Application

God’s thoughts are not always my thoughts, and what seems meaningless to me is reasonable to Him (Isa. 55:8-9). I must seek to know His will in my life.

Job 7:1-21 (English Standard Version)


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