One of my friend’s children ended his life this week. After I called my friend to talk with him, to offer my sympathy, and to pray with him for his comfort and that of his family, I thought about what keeps us living. What gives us hope?
I think of Job. If anyone had reason to die, he did. In fact, he wanted to die. After he loses his many businesses, his employees, and his children, that’s all he wanted. “Perish the day on which I was born,” he says in chapter three. He devotes much of that chapter to curses on his life, by which he hopes to manipulate God into taking him. Like many, only death, he thinks, will relieve his suffering.
But Job doesn’t die! In spite of his disasters, his severe depression, and his cruel friends, he survives. He also improves. In the end, he thrives. How? I ask. I suggest two factors that give him, and perhaps us, hope.
First, he had reason to live. Because he knows he suffers unjustly, he needs to confront God for vindication. True, to force that confrontation expresses another attempt at manipulation. Nevertheless, it was enough, in connection with the second factor, to give him reason to live.
Look for that second factor next blog.