Job 3

Job’s suffering may be well towards the extreme end of most people’s, but he’s not a robot. He may have given us the cliche about the ‘patience of Job’ but here we get all the emotion you would expect from anyone in his situation, except expressed with perhaps less swearing and a lot more eloquence.

He curses the day he was born like Jeremiah did, with all sorts of memorable language about darkness obliterating the day on the calendar. He envies stillborn babies their peace, envisaging them in the ground with Kings and princes, freed from concerns about their material gains or losses.

Life means nothing to him: ‘Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure.’

In that moment he would be an advocate for both abortion and euthanasia, and they are certainly questions that still animate us today.

This is not cursing God. He curses when life came to him, every step of the process from conception to first breath, and he curses that life continues. The place he will not go is to say God got it wrong, to despise God.

I never realised that classic Christian song, I’ve sung it 100 times, ‘blessed be the name’ came from Job. Back in chapter 1, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.

I hope my kids will be alright, I hope I’ll get a job, but the are no guarantees, it’s not how God works. Jeremiah’s misery came directly from his obedience to God’s word. No promises of an easy life.

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