THE DARKNESS OF DESPAIR
Lord, I need You.
Read Job 3:1–26
3 After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 He said:
3 “May the day of my birth perish,
and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’
4 That day—may it turn to darkness;
may God above not care about it;
may no light shine on it.
5 May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more;
may a cloud settle over it;
may blackness overwhelm it.
6 That night—may thick darkness seize it;
may it not be included among the days of the year
nor be entered in any of the months.
7 May that night be barren;
may no shout of joy be heard in it.
8 May those who curse days curse that day,
those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.
9 May its morning stars become dark;
may it wait for daylight in vain
and not see the first rays of dawn,
10 for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me
to hide trouble from my eyes.
11 “Why did I not perish at birth,
and die as I came from the womb?
12 Why were there knees to receive me
and breasts that I might be nursed?
13 For now I would be lying down in peace;
I would be asleep and at rest
14 with kings and rulers of the earth,
who built for themselves places now lying in ruins,
15 with princes who had gold,
who filled their houses with silver.
16 Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child,
like an infant who never saw the light of day?
17 There the wicked cease from turmoil,
and there the weary are at rest.
18 Captives also enjoy their ease;
they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout.
19 The small and the great are there,
and the slaves are freed from their owners.
20 “Why is light given to those in misery,
and life to the bitter of soul,
21 to those who long for death that does not come,
who search for it more than for hidden treasure,
22 who are filled with gladness
and rejoice when they reach the grave?
23 Why is life given to a man
whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
24 For sighing has become my daily food;
my groans pour out like water.
25 What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.
26 I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat does despair feel like? Have you ever felt that even God is against you?
This is one of the darkest chapters in the Bible. Job curses the day he was born (3–5). He curses the day he was conceived (6–10), wishing that from now on every calendar would have that one night missing. He wishes he hadn’t moved from the womb to his mother’s lap to her breast (11,12,16). Why? Because this is when his troubles started.
All Job wants is rest. He describes it in four ways in verse 13 (lying down in peace, asleep and at rest) and says it eludes him in four ways in verse 26 (no peace, no quietness, no rest, but only turmoil). He longs for the relief of death (20–22).
This seems a long way from the confident statements of faith in Job 1:20,21 and 2:10. But Job has begun to feel that God himself is against him. The Accuser said that God put a protective hedge around Job (1:10). But now Job says God has hedged him in (23). He is surrounded by disaster at every turn, and God is behind it all. His anguish is so raw that he has lost all confidence in the goodness of God or his good purposes, or whether life ever had any purpose at all. Job is brutally honest. God has not just withdrawn; he has turned against him.
The Bible is real about grief and pain and loss. Is someone you know struggling with grief right now? Be an open ear to listen today. You don’t even need to say anything; just be there and listen.
Cry out with Job, but thank your Father that whatever it feels like, you will never be forsaken.