I am a good sleeper. By that I mean I love my sleep! I’m loathe to give it up. For most of my life I have had no trouble sleeping, and I really, really like getting up, not to an alarm clock exhausted and bleary-eyes, but when my body tells me it’s time to wake up.
However, there have been brief periods in my life when I was unable to sleep, where insomnia kept me lying awake in bed for hours in the dark. I will say it is most unpleasant when the one thing that can refresh our bodies and reset our minds and attitudes is taken from us. It is a lonely time, when the world is dark and it seems everyone else is asleep. It doesn’t surprise me that Job is resentful that his sleep has been taken from him. With all the grief and suffering he has endured, sleep is the only reprieve, and even his reprieve has been lost. He longs for eternal rest, a slumber from which he will never wake. But it is not yet his time to die. And he must endure the suffering alone and in the dark.
“Do not human beings have a hard service on earth, and are not their days like the days of a laborer? Like a slave who longs for the shadow, and like laborers who look for their wages, so I am allotted months of emptiness, and nights of misery are apportioned to me. When I lie down I say, ‘When shall I rise?’ But the night is long, and I am full of tossing until dawn. My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt; my skin hardens, then breaks out again. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and come to their end without hope.
“Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good. The eye that beholds me will see me no more; while your eyes are upon me, I shall be gone. As the cloud fades and vanishes, so those who go down to Sheol do not come up; they return no more to their houses, nor do their places know them any more. “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Am I the Sea, or the Dragon, that you set a guard over me? When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me, my couch will ease my complaint,’ then you scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions, so that I would choose strangling and death rather than this body. I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone, for my days are a breath.
What are human beings, that you make so much of them, that you set your mind on them, visit them every morning, test them every moment? Will you not look away from me for a while, let me alone until I swallow my spittle? If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of humanity? Why have you made me your target? Why have I become a burden to you? Why do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity? For now I shall lie in the earth; you will seek me, but I shall not be.”