A slightly subdued Job responds to Elipaz, and yet his attitude not changed:
I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all.
(Do I hear a bit of southern drawl in Job’s “you’ll?!? Sorry – that wasn’t very spiritual!)
I do have compassion for Job. He’s at an impossible place, enduring more suffering than I can imagine. He had held each one of his sons and daughters on his lap, celebrating their birth. He had inspected his herds, proud of each little calf and his wisdom in how to breed them. He loved his dear wife, and she had turned away from him. And now his body was fighting him with waves of pain.
And now these friends whom he had trusted for years were not giving him the answers he wanted…
I hear a bit of jealousy as he ways, “I also could speak as you do, if you were in my place.” He wishes with all his heart that he could be the comforter, and yet realizes he would be none the better.
Job goes on:
Surely God has worn me out…My spirit is broken…
My days are past; my plans are broken off, the desires of my heart.
Can you hear his grief, his sadness? This is different than his first speech there he wanted to die to escape the pain. This is deep grief that what was the purpose of his life, the desires of his heart, will never be.
Often, when we suffer, we first get mad. We feel the injustice of it. We’re frantic to escape and fight anyone who gets in our way.
But then there is an acceptance of the facts; we are suffering. It hurts. It’s sad. We grieve what is gone, never to be experienced again.
I’ve gone through phases of this with my cancer, declining health and what comes with age. Every time I break a bone, I’m reminded that no matter how hard I do rehab, it’s not going to be the same. I have friends who struggle with their relationship with their kids. Every time there is an altercation, trust is lost, and although they reconcile, it’s not the same.
And it’s sad.
God didn’t create us for sin, for death, for illness, for all that Job is enduring. And it’s sad that he, that we, suffer.
Job ends with:
Where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?
Will it go down to the bars of Sheol?
Shall we descend together into the dust?
Suffering produces deep grief.