He wanted to die.
“If my misery could be weighed
and my troubles be put on the scales,
3 they would outweigh all the sands of the sea.
That is why I spoke impulsively.
4 For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows.
Their poison infects my spirit.
God’s terrors are lined up against me. Job 6:2-4, NLT
He found no relief in the days–his mind active on all he’d lost, his heart full of grief, at night, his body in torment.
“Is not all human life a struggle?
Our lives are like that of a hired hand,
2 like a worker who longs for the shade,
like a servant waiting to be paid.
3 I, too, have been assigned months of futility,
long and weary nights of misery.
4 Lying in bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning?’
But the night drags on, and I toss till dawn.
5 My body is covered with maggots and scabs.
My skin breaks open, oozing with pus. Job 7:1-5, NLT
His friends–little help. He’s trying to make sense of the weight of his troubles. Today’s reading, the glimpse I get.
But that is not the end of the story.
End times reading reveals greater terrors.
7 When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them, and he will conquer them and kill them. 8 And their bodies will lie in the main street of Jerusalem, the city that is figuratively called “Sodom” and “Egypt,” the city where their Lord was crucified. 9 And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will stare at their bodies. No one will be allowed to bury them. 10 All the people who belong to this world will gloat over them and give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them.
11 But after three and a half days, God breathed life into them, and they stood up! Terror struck all who were staring at them. 12 Then a loud voice from heaven called to the two prophets, “Come up here!” And they rose to heaven in a cloud as their enemies watched.
13 At the same time there was a terrible earthquake that destroyed a tenth of the city. Seven thousand people died in that earthquake, and everyone else was terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second terror is past, but look, the third terror is coming quickly. Revelation 11:7-14, NLT
Today’s reading, just a glimpse I get. And even here, that’s not the end.
Quiet reflections on the past year. Sitting still with the memories of the challenges, the heartbreaks, the losses.
When I was in my twenties, I tried to bike the C&O Canal towpath. At one point, I was walking my bike through the Paw Paw Tunnel. And right in the middle of the tunnel, the light from the ends seemed like pinpoints. It was so dark, I couldn’t even see what I was stepping on. I didn’t expect it to be so dark, and I’m not even sure I expected to travel through a tunnel. I could go back and be stuck, or I could work through. I worked through it.
This past year, there was a time where I felt stuck in the middle. It felt just as dark and uncertain as that day in the tunnel, only it lasted a lot longer. But looking back with a December vantage point: that was not the end of the story.
Today’s readings remind me there’s more to the story–and there’s a great God who holds it all together.
The Lord is king!
Let the nations tremble!
He sits on his throne between the cherubim.
Let the whole earth quake!
2 The Lord sits in majesty in Jerusalem,
exalted above all the nations.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name.
Your name is holy!
4 Mighty King, lover of justice,
you have established fairness.
You have acted with justice
and righteousness throughout Israel.
5 Exalt the Lord our God!
Bow low before his feet, for he is holy! Psalm 99:1-5, NLT