It is quite a thing to wish to be dead. It is quite another to wish never to have been born. For one for whom suicide is not an option (truly, has anyone ever really reconciled the eternal consequences of taking one’s own life?), such a desire makes a lot of sense. To one whose suffering seems inequitable and unending, the desire to go back and end it before it began tastes sweet like honey.
Job knew that his days were numbered with the Sea, and Leviathan who lives in the Sea. To people living before scuba gear and radar, the depths of the Sea, and Leviathan, the monster that lives under the sea, both represent chaos – that which we cannot make sense of. It’s easy to see how the day of birth of one like Job is a day that celebrates chaos, and both should be cursed. Neither makes any sense at all. Truly, there is no sense to be made of suffering. To those who would say suffering is God’s will, I say no loving God would inflict such suffering for any reason. To those who say people are allowed to suffer so that they can learn or be strengthened in faith, I say what loving God would make allow suffering for the sake of education? None that I know. To those who suggest God needs a child in heaven more than we need the child here on earth, I say that would be a needy and greedy God for sure. That is not the God I know.
Might we have a God that despises suffering as much as we do? That weeps over the pain and is frustrated at the senselessness of it all? That recognizes that this world God created comes with an unfair share of chaos? That loves deeply, and therefore hurts deeply as well? Yes, that is the God I know. A God that gets muddy and angry and steps into the ick with us. A God who suffers as we suffer. A God whose child died at the hands of injustice, unfairness, and chaos. That is a God who knows my heart. That is a God I can trust because that God has been there too.
After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. Job said: “Let the day perish in which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man-child is conceived.’ Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, or light shine on it. Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let clouds settle upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. That night—let thick darkness seize it! let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months. Yes, let that night be barren; let no joyful cry be heard in it. Let those curse it who curse the Sea, those who are skilled to rouse up Leviathan. Let the stars of its dawn be dark; let it hope for light, but have none; may it not see the eyelids of the morning—because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb, and hide trouble from my eyes.
“Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire? Why were there knees to receive me, or breasts for me to suck? Now I would be lying down and quiet; I would be asleep; then I would be at rest with kings and counselors of the earth who rebuild ruins for themselves, or with princes who have gold, who fill their houses with silver. Or why was I not buried like a stillborn child, like an infant that never sees the light? There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest. There the prisoners are at ease together; they do not hear the voice of the taskmaster. The small and the great are there, and the slaves are free from their masters.
“Why is light given to one in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it does not come, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures; who rejoice exceedingly, and are glad when they find the grave? Why is light given to one who cannot see the way, whom God has fenced in? For my sighing comes like my bread, and my groanings are poured out like water. Truly the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest; but trouble comes.”