“11Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 12Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me? 13When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint; 14Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions: 15So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life. 16I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity. 17What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? 18And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment? 19How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle? 20I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself? 21And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.” (Job 7:11-21)
For Job, there was no place of comfort or relief, not even in bed. As he eased himself into bed he thought, “Perhaps I will feel better if I just sleep a while. My bed is soft, and it will ease my pain a bit.” But, as soon as he dropped off to sleep, nightmares would begin – horrible, terrifying dreams. Even in sleep there was no comfort. The dreams were so frightening that he wished he could die. If God had given him a choice, he would have chosen to be strangled and die rather than to keep on living.
Why? Why did God wake Job up each morning? He loathed his life. “God,” he mourned, “my life is useless. I’m no good for anything. Why will you not just leave me alone. This is too much for me. I need a rest. Cannot my sufferings be relieved just long enough to let me swallow?”
On top of his physical anguish, Job experienced spiritual sorrow. He had done what he could to keep right with God; but he felt that God, for some reason, would not forgive him. How could he die with sin in his heart? Why must he die unforgiven? Why would God not answer him and give him peace? How could he die out of favor with God? If God would not forgive him, he had no hope beyond the grave. All was lost.
We know that Job’s distress was caused by Satan, not by God. The poverty, the bereavement, the sorrow, the fear, the mental and spiritual torment were all attacks by Satan to try to get Job to curse God. We know these things, but Job did not know them. He could not see what was happening in the spiritual realm. He could only see the here and now.
We know that everything turned out good for Job, but Job did not know how everything would turn out. He did not know the end from the beginning. Job could only perceive the present. As far as he could tell, he would never see good again.
If you have a friend who is going through deep waters, do not try to comfort that friend by saying, “Everything will be OK.” Remember that your friend can only see the here and now, he (or she) can only perceive the present. And really, that is all any of us can see as human beings. Just be there for your friend and allow him to pour out his heart to you. Share comforting and encouraging Scriptures, but do not “preach” at him. You do not know his heart or the reason for his trials. His hurt may be so deep that he feels he is abandoned, even by God. Let your friend know that you are there if he needs you. Since he cannot see or touch God, do what you can to be God’s instrument of encouragement. If you allow God to use you as His tool, your friend can see God’s love and comfort through you. Perhaps this will give your friend just a glimmer of hope and comfort.
You can be God’s feet and hands for Him and share His caring heart.