The hard reality is that we can come to a place in life where we wonder if it’s worth living another day. People get to this place for many reasons. Some people romanticize death. They think that somehow in death they will enjoy attention or revenge, not processing the finality of it. People can be in such mental and physical pain that death seems the only way to peace and rest. There is a place of despair that people can get to when they see no purpose and meaning in life, causing them to lose hope and chose death as a final act. The desire to die can actually be the desire to avoid a future that seems impossible to live.
A man named Job lost everything except his wife and the ability to breathe. He cursed the day he was born. To Job, his birthday seemed a cruel set-up for a life of suffering. Pain was Job’s reason for wanting to die. “Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it comes not.” (Job 3:20)
Can we speak like this? Can we speak about this? Job did; and he lived to tell about it.
Job 3 is among the darkest chapters in the Bible. But, in the following chapters of Job he argues with his friends, prays desperate prayers to God, comes to see the error in his thinking, and takes back his despairing words. Finally, by staying alive, Job sees God. God, through suffering, revealed things about himself to Job that brought his soul back to life. He can now breathe the breath of worship.
The path from cursing one’s birthday to worshipping one’s Creator is not a quick and easy one. To treat the desire to die in a trivial way can be dangerous. But to avoid being direct about the reasons to live for fear of being dismissive of someone’s pain is equally unhelpful.
So, to put it plainly, Job shows us that we live another day to see and worship God. Yes, the Christian will worship God after death, but the timing of that death is God’s to determine. We worship God on God’s terms. God determines the number of our days (Job 12:10). As long as he gives us breath, we worship him on earth. When he calls us home, we will worship him there.
Jesus entrusted his days to the will of the Father. He lived each day with the dark cloud of crucifixion hanging over him. For Jesus, crucifixion was not just death. It was a sin-bearing, wrath-absorbing, disease and depression-carrying death. All of it (none of which was his own) was laid on him. His was the death to end death. He did not avoid this death by choosing another one. His death reconciled us to God through the forgiveness of our sins. He died so we can live another day to worship.
This Sunday at Grace, we will read the third chapter of Job. From this dark chapter we hope to see the light of another Day that will give us greater hope for today. Pray with me that we will encounter the living God together.