Job Speaks About His Condition
Open Your Bible
Job 30:1-31, Job 31:1-40, Psalm 42:4, Matthew 27:45–46
As if Job’s suffering isn’t enough, he must now endure the scorn of onlookers, men who spit on him and openly despise him, simply for the suffering that’s befallen him. Worse, these onlookers were once far beneath Job on the social, economic, and moral ladder (Job 30:1). Now, they’re mocking him. Job falls into a unique type of despair caused when you are suffering but those around you are not.
No one was literally spitting on me, but I have certainly experienced scorn for my suffering from those around me. I experience it most on social media. Whenever I see a friend post about something she has that I don’t, but wish I did, I feel the scorn. A husband, a child, another book coming out—posts about these things can strike a sensitive nerve in me, a place that quietly suffers from loneliness, longing, and lack. Because of this, a simple engagement announcement, wedding photo, or book-cover reveal can feel like torture to my heart.
Unlike the wicked men in our reading today, this mocking is completely unintentional on the part of my friends, but it still has the power to deepen my despair, not only because comparison is the thief of joy, but because the voice of the mockers convinces me that I am alone in my suffering. Everyone else’s life seems to be moving along according to plan. Mine is not.
I wonder if Satan sent the mockers to Job, and I wonder if he did so knowing how frail we humans are in the face of loneliness. Suffering is difficult. Suffering alone is unbearable.
Perhaps this would be Job’s tipping point. I would have understood if it was, but Job still cries out to God. It is a despairing cry, but a cry nonetheless: “I cry out to you for help, but You do not answer me” (Job 30:20). His words foreshadow the ultimate cry of despair when Christ hangs on a cross and asks, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46).
Christ suffered. Christ was mocked in that suffering. Christ felt forsaken by God. All of Christ’s work and ministry led to those hours of scorn on the cross. And yet, I continue to sit in my suffering, I look at the thriving lives of those around me, and I convince myself I am alone when the exact opposite is true.
This is why the companionship of Christ and the knowledge of His suffering are so important to hold onto in our darkest times. If we do not listen first to these truths, we will only hear the voices of the mockers telling us we are alone.
But you are not. We are not. Not in this. Not ever. Jesus has cried out on our behalf, and because of Him, we are not forsaken, not abandoned, and never forgotten in our suffering.