We all have bad days–some days worse than others. Some battle sickness that makes trips to the doctor and taking medications an integral part of life. Some face life-threatening diseases that takes all strength just to exist from day to day. Other people are challenged by a completely different set of struggles, dealing with depression and self-doubt, despite their intelligence and accomplishments. Some people work at their jobs daily but feel like they are just a cog in an unfeeling machine and wonder if they are making any difference at all. If you then consider those who have lost loved ones, been laid off work, have financial issues, or are in the midst of family problems, the realities of life and all it can throw at us on a regular basis becomes clear. Yet, despite all of these negative and even potentially devastating things, most people get up every day and keep going. But not every one. And sometimes that challenge of continuing onward is greater than we ever would have imagined.
If you have run into any of these types of challenges or had to face similar fears, you know how the constant barrage of negativity Satan uses to beat us down can affect us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Job certainly understood this. He lost his children, his wealth, and his health. He was left dazed and confused by how life had seemingly turned against him. And then his friends showed up, only to add even more negativity to his life. During one of his replies to their arguments against him, Job admitted, “I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone, For my days are but a breath” (Job 7:16). Job had reached the point where he hated his own life, and he really did not want to go on living. Many people have felt what Job expressed here. They have reached a point where something in life—disease, work, expectations, or perhaps even ridicule—drove them to despair. They saw and felt only pain—and wanted it to end, somehow, some way. Unfortunately, some focus so much on their problems that they also lose all hope, and so all perspective. Job had more problems than any of us would like to contemplate, and yet despite his sorrow, grief, and pain, he never lost perspective entirely because he kept looking to God, and this made perseverance possible.
The suicide rate is on the rise in our society, especially among youth. This is unsurprising considering their constant exposure to a world that does not value God, truth, or life. Moreover, living in the age of social media, their perspective about life is easily distorted by a digital illusion of what life should be. Job reached the point where he saw his life as complete misery and his eventual death as a possible release from it, but he never contemplated suicide. He left his life in God’s hands. And that made all the difference. After the turmoil and despair of this series of trials, Job prospered in life once more, his perseverance rewarded. He went on to experience joy beyond what he had to that point. He did ultimately pass away, and this relieved him of the challenges of temptation. However, his perseverance and faithfulness to God and His timeline, was what would make his death a relief, because he could also look forward with joy to the resurrection unto life (Jn. 5:28-29).