Job 7:11 (NIV) 11 “Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
On verses 1-11: Long, difficult days (v1-2), sleepless nights (v3-4), deteriorating health (v5), an unsightly appearance (v5), feeling cut down during the prime of his life (v6), and utter hopelessness (v7-10) – that is Job’s plight. “Therefore,” Job says, “I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” (v11) In other words, because life is so hard for Job, Job has had enough. He decides it is time to voice his complaint to God. Has life ever gotten so tough that you felt like you had to express your frustration to God? It is fine and in fact healthy to do so, but always with humility, remembering that God is God and we are not.
Job 7:16-17 (NIV) 16 I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning. 17 “What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention,
On verses 12-21: The rest of this chapter (v12-21) is Job beginning to question God. Job complains that his life is endless torment (v13-16), that he would rather die than keep on living this way. He wonders why God needs to be so strict with him personally (v12) to the point of constantly testing them (v17-19). Job asks God what he has done to cause God to treat him this way– “Why have you made me your target?” (v20). To paraphrase verse 21, “Why won’t you show me just a bit of mercy before I die?”.
What can we learn from this? Job is asking the question so many of us ask when we go through more suffering than we think is warranted: “Why me, God?” In verses 17-18, Job asks in an angry, complaining way, “What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention…?” Centuries later, David would ask a similar question, but with a different attitude. Whereas Job asked it with a complaining attitude, David would ask with a grateful, “I’m-in-awe-at-Your-goodness” attitude: “what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:4).
This reminds me of Arthur Ashe, one of the greatest tennis players to ever live and the only black tennis player to win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open. One day Arthur, in the prime of his life, woke up and could not move his right arm. After a series of tests, the doctors discovered that Arthur Ashe had contracted HIV, most likely through a blood transfusion that he received a few years before. Five years later Arthur would die of AIDS-related pneumonia, but not before he became a spokesman for the fight against AIDS. Once Arthur was asked, “Aren’t you angry at God for what happened to you?” Arthur, who was a Christian, responded, “If I were to say, ‘God, why me?’ about the bad things, then I should have said, ‘God, why me?’ about the good things that happened in my life.”
Likewise, you might be inclined to ask God, “Why me?” when you experience suffering. But to be fair, you should also God, “Why me?” when you experience blessings. In the end I believe there are far more “Why me?” blessings that God allowed in your lifethan “Why me?” problems. The greatest blessing is this: when we were sinners who had fallen short of God’s glory, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins.
Heavenly Father, when life gets tough and I’m inclined to ask “God, why me?” about the difficult things, may I always remember to also ask “God, why me?” about the good things You allowed in my life. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!