Speaking in the bitterness of my soul
Depression is an illness today that is difficult to cure; sometimes it is impossible. Some “cures” are as bad as the complaint! If anyone had cause for feeling depressed it was Job. He speaks “in the bitterness of my soul” and says, “I loathe my life” (10:1). Job is extremely depressed, the words of his friends have not helped at all. When we come to chapter 16 we will see he calls them “miserable comforters”.
The minds of his ‘friends’ are locked into the conviction that Job is suffering terribly because he has sinned badly and, they believe, he needs to confess these sins to God. And of course we need to confess our sins, whether great or small, to God – we cannot pull the wool over God’s eyes, although we might do that with our friends, or try to.
However Job had a weapon which most of those suffering today from depression do not have. He believed in God and he sought more and more earnestly to have meaningful contact with God and that is why this book of the Bible is so valuable to get one’s mind around.
What is remarkable about today’s chapter 10 is that Job gives up talking to his “friends” and starts talking to God.
“although you know that I am not guilty and there is none to deliver out of your hand? … you have granted me life and steadfast love and your care has preserved my spirit” (verses 7,12).
He is reflecting on his experiences of life, but these experiences have been overwhelmed by what has happened which at this stage he cannot understand.
Yet we shall see, as we read succeeding chapters that his thoughts go on a journey of increasing conviction of the future before him. It may well be that previously he was thinking too much of the present – even fearing that trouble could come upon him (see 3:25).
Soon we will see he reaches the stage of saying,
“I know that my redeemer lives”
and that the time will come when
“in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself and my eyes shall behold” (19:25-27).
The calamities that have happened to him make him think extremely deeply as to what he knows in his innermost being about the meaning of life. The end result of such deep thinking is he discovers more fully the truth about the ways of God.
If things go badly wrong in your life, what do you do? Or will you do?
The example of Job, shows us how to contend with and overcome any “bitterness”.