In our reading from Job chapter 3 today, Job has been dragged into the depths of despair. He’s covered in sores from head to toe, his flesh torn apart by filth and corruption while his heart is still grieving the death of his children, and the destruction of his livestock, the destruction of his wealth. Nearly all that Job has is now gone, and so he cries out from the pit of agony, questioning God’s will in all of this. If he was going to drink this bitter wine of misery, why did he have so many years rejoicing in the wine of gladness? Why couldn’t he have died before he knew what it meant to suffer? Why didn’t he perish in infancy if this was going to be the life he would inherit? Why couldn’t he have tasted death before he knew the misery of hungering for death? Why didn’t the Lord extinguish his life like He had done for so many stillborn children? Why was God dragging him into the misery of a life with no rest?
Throughout the book of Job, his friends tackle that question with varying degrees of worthless answers. They have no word of comfort to give because they don’t know wisdom. But Jesus does. And so we can find comfort in the one prophesied by Job in chapter 19, the Redeemer that Job will see in his flesh, the One who has promised salvation and resurrection to all who believe.
Why did God give you life only to let you fall into the pit of suffering? Why did He give you joy only to take it away? Why didn’t He end your life before you knew what it meant to lose everything?
Because, in all of this, He wants you to see the suffering of His Son. He let you fall into the pit so that you could feel the nail-pierced hands of Jesus Christ lift you out. He let you lose your temporal joy so that you could know the eternal joy of Jesus Christ, who took on human flesh, entered the world of sorrow, conquered it with His death and resurrection, and clothed you in His victory. He let you weep so that you’ll know true comfort when Jesus dries your tears. He let the sores cover your body and grief cover your heart so that you can feel His great and glorious healing wash over you in the waters of baptism, and promise you a day when you will watch the pit of misery closed forever as your Redeemer carries you up the mountain of salvation.