HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
Gracious Lord, enable me to rest in you, to work for you, and to become more and more like you.
Read JOB 7
“Do not mortals have hard service on earth?
Are not their days like those of hired laborers?
2 Like a slave longing for the evening shadows,
or a hired laborer waiting to be paid,
3 so I have been allotted months of futility,
and nights of misery have been assigned to me.
4 When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’
The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn.
5 My body is clothed with worms and scabs,
my skin is broken and festering.
6 “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
and they come to an end without hope.
7 Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath;
my eyes will never see happiness again.
8 The eye that now sees me will see me no longer;
you will look for me, but I will be no more.
9 As a cloud vanishes and is gone,
so one who goes down to the grave does not return.
10 He will never come to his house again;
his place will know him no more.
11 “Therefore I will not keep silent;
I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit,
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12 Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep,
that you put me under guard?
13 When I think my bed will comfort me
and my couch will ease my complaint,
14 even then you frighten me with dreams
and terrify me with visions,
15 so that I prefer strangling and death,
rather than this body of mine.
16 I despise my life; I would not live forever.
Let me alone; my days have no meaning.
17 “What is mankind that you make so much of them,
that you give them so much attention,
18 that you examine them every morning
and test them every moment?
19 Will you never look away from me,
or let me alone even for an instant?
20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you,
you who see everything we do?
Why have you made me your target?
Have I become a burden to you?[a]
21 Why do you not pardon my offenses
and forgive my sins?
For I will soon lie down in the dust;
you will search for me, but I will be no more.”
- Job 7:20 A few manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition and Septuagint; most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text I have become a burden to myself.
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.
‘All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.’1
The ‘Overview Effect’ is a phenomenon that happens to astronauts when they see the earth from space. Suddenly, the planet that has been their whole world becomes a tiny dot. As their perspective shifts, astronauts are reminded of their insignificance in relation to the magnitude of the cosmos. Job 7 has a very similar outcome, even if the process for Job has been different. Through the suffering he has experienced, Job’s perspective has changed. Like the astronaut seeing the earth from space, Job perceives his insignificance in the grand narrative of God and the world. Thus, in verse 7 he declares, ‘my life is but a breath.’
For many of us, recognizing our minute place within the cosmos may lead us to feel diminished. For Job it becomes an inspiration to cry out – since this is the only opportunity he has. In verse 11, he declares that he ‘will not keep silent’. In his complaint and cry for justice, Job raises one of the most profound mysteries about God’s love. If the universe is so big, why is God so interested in humankind (v 17)? His words, although with a more negative sentiment, reflect the famous words in Psalm 8:4: ‘what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them … ?’
Job is wrestling with a fundamental tension within God. God is powerful and other – and at the same time concerned with Job’s individual plight. For Christians, it is a reminder of the wonderful nature of our loving Creator God. We trust in a God who both created the wonder of the universe and at the same time personally loves each one of us as individuals. As is the case for Job, it is often hard to be reminded of this when things are particularly difficult. However, being reminded of it provides us comfort at the hardest times.
Pray for those who are struggling to know God’s personal love in moments of suffering.
Empowering Lord, at times I feel I am suffering from battle fatigue. Reinvigorate me when I feel life is too much.
1 Isa 40:6, TNIV