June 27 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.” ~Job 10:1

What happened to our hero? Is this nearly hopeless, despair-addled man the same Job that fell down on his face before God and said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21)? Now Job laments that he hates his life, it has no meaning, and he wishes he were dead (Job 7:16, 10:1). His friend Zophar rebukes him, “Can you fathom the mysteries of God?” (Job 11:7). (This is the only observation Zophar got right; he follows it up with his own, unintentionally ironic explanation of what this “unfathomable God” is, in fact, doing to Job—punishing him for sin.)

We must remember that Job is going through a period of heartbreaking grief. He is not going to pull himself together in a day or two. These are the words of a man who is broken and hurting. I’m sure you can relate.  Sometimes painful experiences make us want to ask God why? Like Job, we want to give up. Like Job, we feel like God’s ways are arbitrary: “If I sinned, you would be watching me and would not let my offense go unpunished. If I am guilty—woe to me!” (Job 10:14). In other words, God is going to punish me whether I’m good or bad! Ever felt that way? Job certainly did.  And to add misery to misery, what can he do about it? I mean, God is sovereign and He is going to do what He has decided to do, right? At least, that’s the argument Job makes in the latter half of chapter 12 (vv. 13-25). In his grief, Job distorts the truth he knows about God deep down inside.

Job’s despair does not last forever. He is commended later in Scripture for his tolerant response. He is held up, along with the prophets, as an example of “patience in the face of suffering” (Jas. 5:10). Yet, there is encouragement for us in his desolation. We don’t have to react perfectly to pain in order to gain God’s approval. Job isn’t perfect, but he did respond faithfully. He struggled, but he persevered. So if you are going through a really tough time—and you aren’t handling it perfectly—find encouragement in the life of this man of great faith. Even the godly struggle when grief settles on them. Don’t give up; persevere, even if the struggle gets messy. You will be blessed in the end (see James 5:10-11).

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.