Job 10:18-22

Last week I read an article about a computer writer who has a terminal disease. It said, (The Healdsburg Tribune, by Ray Holley, Mar 7, 2017)

"One day next week, if all goes according to plan, Tom Negrino will swallow a dose of anti-nausea drugs. Shortly afterward, he will raise a glass filled with four ounces of liquid and drink. Ninety capsules of a barbiturate will be dissolved in that glass. Negrino will follow it up with a glass of good wine, say goodbye to his wife and fall asleep. Within an hour, he will be dead."

The headline of the story was,

"Living and dying on his own terms: Healdsburg man to take his own life under 'End of Life Option' law"

A side bar of the article read,

"According to the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, the End of Life Option Act permits terminally ill adult patients with capacity to make medical decisions to be prescribed an aid-in-dying medication if certain conditions are met. Signed into law by Governor Brown in October 2015, the law went into effect in June 2016. California is the fifth state to enact an aid-in-dying law."

The article was difficult to read. Tom had a life filled with suffering. He was born with spina bifida, a defect in the backbone and membranes that surround the spinal cord. Then in 2010 he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. He was treated and was told that he was cured. But the cancer came back and it's now terminal. All his life he suffered. He wrote on his blog, (

"childhood was a terrible torment of multiple surgeries and social alienation. Approximately every 10 years since, just when I think that I have a handle on everything spina bifida has done to me, something new and awful happens. Dying of cancer has nothing to do with being born with spina bifida, as far as we know. But it does kind of put the cherry on top of the cupcake."

One can't read the article without being moved. He has had a tragic life and wants to end his suffering. He said even if he did nothing he's going to be dead inside of six months. But he'd rather not suffer any longer.

One can't help but sympathize with him. What he has been through has been terrible. He has been suffering all his life and the end is near.

The outpouring of sympathy that followed was remarkable. He is loved by so many people. According to the comments many people support him in his effort to avoid suffering. It seems that the vast majority of people in our society support euthanasia. The word 'euthanasia' is from Greek and means, 'a good death'. Our society also refers to it as 'mercy killing'. They believe that is what it is—something that's merciful. If a doctor or someone else hastens the suffering person's death many people believe it's a good thing.

In the 1992 movie The Last of the Mohicans, the main hero of the story, Hawkeye, at one point shoots and kills Duncan, a British soldier, from a distance. The British soldier was tied to a stake and was being burned to death by some natives. Hawkeye shoots him, not because he hates him, but to end the torture Duncan was going through. We can all understand that. I think it was designed to get us all to nod in approval and say,

"Yes, that was the right thing to do."

That was a mercy killing.

There is so much suffering in the world. Several years ago I was asked to go to M. to visit a young woman to see if a computer could help her communicate. She had been in a terrible car accident. They didn't know if her brain had been so severely damaged that she couldn't understand anything or if he brain was working and she just couldn't communicate. The computer had been specially set up so that you could control it with just a slight movement of your head. Even after several attempts we couldn't get her to use the computer. It was a terrible let down. Was there any point to her continuing to live? Should her caregivers be allowed to give her an injection that would end her life?

In our text Job tells us how his suffering made him feel. He said to God, (Job 10:18–22)

"Why then did you bring me
out of the womb?
I wish I had died before any eye saw me.
If only I had never come into being,
or had been carried straight
from the womb to the grave!
Are not my few days almost over?
Turn away from me so I can have
a moment's joy before I go
to the place of no return,
to the land of gloom and deep shadow,
to the land of deepest night,
of deep shadow and disorder,
where even the light is like darkness."

Job is suffering so much that he asks God why He ever allowed him to exist. It appears to Job that he would have been much better if God never brought him into this world. He views his life as being futile.

He asks God for some relief. He asks God to turn away from him so that he can have a moment's joy before he goes to the land of gloom and deep shadow. Job is asking God why He doesn't kill him. There seems no point to his suffering. Job thought that his life, his existence was futile.

Was Job right? Absolutely not. The main thing we should understand from our text is

Job was wrong when he thought his life was futile.

What Job didn't know was that in his sufferings he was involved in one of the greatest spectacles between God and Satan in the history of the world. The whole heavenly host was watching Job in his suffering. God's honor was at stake. How was he going to react? Was Job going to curse God as Satan said he would? Was God's grace to Job going to fail? Would Job be able to stand in the face of Satan's assaults?

One of the problems with us is that we sometimes fail to recognize value in certain things that are exceedingly important. This is especially true with suffering. Our sufferings beat us down so that we lose sight of the big picture.

We see it in Job. He wasn't aware of the great contest taking place. He wasn't aware of the unseen eyes that were on him.

Christians, never forget that we are in a spiritual battle and that there is a great unseen dimension to it.

You'll remember when the King of Aram found out that the prophet Elisha was in Dothan he surrounded the city at night. We read, (2 Kings 6:15–17)

"When the servant of the man of God
got up and went out
early the next morning,
an army with horses and chariots
had surrounded the city.
'Oh, my lord,
what shall we do?'
the servant asked.
'Don't be afraid,'
the prophet answered.
'Those who are with us
are more than those who are with them.'
And Elisha prayed, 'O LORD,
open his eyes so he may see.'
Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes,
and he looked and saw the hills
full of horses and
chariots of fire all around Elisha."

Elisha's servant was only seeing the little picture. He thought they were in trouble. He thought they were doomed. He was looking at it from a totally earthly perspective. But Elisha saw much more of the full picture, how there were many spiritual beings on their side, sent by God to help them. As we do battle we should not lose sight of this fact. We should not lose hope.

We also know from the Bible that there are that there are spiritual beings who oppose us. In Ephesians 6:12 the apostle Paul told us,

"For our struggle is not against
flesh and blood,
but against the rulers,
against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world
and against the spiritual forces of evil
in the heavenly realms."

And in 2 Corinthians 2:11 Paul mentions how Satan seeks to outwit us and schemes against us. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul wrote that his thorn in the flesh that tormented him was,

"a messenger of Satan…"

Then in 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18 Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Christians,

"brothers, when we were torn away
from you for a short time
(in person, not in thought),
out of our intense longing
we made every effort to see you.
For we wanted to come to you—
certainly I, Paul, did,
again and again—
but Satan stopped us."

Thus we see that we need to realize that we have a great enemy that we cannot see. In our sufferings there is more going on than we see. Our sufferings are not futile.

Christians, God's honor is involved in your suffering.

At the end of John's gospel Jesus said to Peter, (John 21:18)

"I tell you the truth,
when you were younger
you dressed yourself and
went where you wanted;
but when you are old
you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where
you do not want to go."

John explained Jesus' saying this way,

"Jesus said this to indicate
the kind of death
by which Peter would glorify God."

Peter was going to suffer and die for God's glory.

After World War II Herman Goering, one of the leaders of the Third Reich, was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity at Nuremberg. He was sentenced to be hanged. But he escaped the hang man by committing suicide the night before his execution. Consider how he died—as a coward. What did that say about National Socialism? It was defeated. It was over. There was nothing of it left. There was nothing to hold out for.

But Christianity is not over. It has not been defeated. Jesus is building His church. Jesus is defeating His enemies. Victory is assured but the struggle continues. You, as members of Christ's church, are intimately involved in that struggle.

Just like Job, Peter was on display before the heavenly host. How he suffered and died was vitally important. As the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:9,

"For it seems to me that God
has put us apostles on display
at the end of the procession,
like men condemned
to die in the arena.
We have been made a spectacle
to the whole universe,
to angels as well as to men."

But it's not just the apostles that are on display. In Ephesians 3:8-11 the apostle Paul spoke of how God's plan to show His glory comes to pass through God's people. He wrote,

"Although I am less than
the least of all God's people,
this grace was given me:
to preach to the Gentiles
the unsearchable riches of Christ,
and to make plain to everyone
the administration of this mystery,
which for ages past
was kept hidden in God,
who created all things.
His intent was that now,
through the church,
the manifold wisdom of God
should be made known to the rulers
and authorities in the heavenly realms
according to his eternal purpose
which he accomplished
in Christ Jesus our Lord."

It's not just great saints like Job and the apostles that God uses to reveal His wonderful attributes and glory to the heavenly host—but God also uses the church, people like you.

God uses His people, their sufferings, not only to display His glory, but to grow the church. Remember Latimer's words to Ridley as they were being burned at the stake? He said,

"Be of good comfort, Mr. Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle by God's grace, in England, as I trust never shall be put out."

God sometimes uses the sufferings of His people to show the heavenly host His power, His mercy, His kindness to unworthy sinners. We see it in the prophet Elijah. Queen Jezebel promised to cut off Elijah's head within 24 hours. Elijah ran away. He became despondent. We read, (1 Kings 19:4)

"He came to a broom tree,
sat down under it and
prayed that he might die.'
I have had enough,
LORD,'he said.'
Take my life;
I am no better than my ancestors."

Elijah lost sight of the fact that in his suffering he was doing very valuable work. His outlook on the future was so unworthy of the glory that was ahead. God had plans for Elijah to be only the second man in history to be taken to heaven without dying. He was going to go up into heaven in a whirlwind.

What was God doing with Elijah in bringing him to heaven without having him die? Just like Enoch before him, Elijah's departure out of this world was showing the power of Jesus and the great hope that is ahead for God's people. It was showing God's great love for unworthy sinners and His plans for glory for them.

Christians, your life is meaningful. Your sufferings are of great significance. People are watching. The heavenly host is watching. We can show our faith, our hope, our confidence in God, in His promises. We can show the glory of Jesus in us in our sufferings.

Christian, when sufferings come to you, when you face death, is your comfort the most important thing? Will your desire for relief and ease be the most important thing to you? Will you be that selfish? Will you be that little minded?

How we treat our bodies, even in the midst of incredible suffering, is a matter of great importance. In 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 the apostle Paul wrote,

"Do you not know that your body
is a temple of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you,
whom you have received from God?
You are not your own;
you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your body."

Latimer knew that how he and Ridley faced the flames, how they died—mattered! He knew that their sufferings were not for nothing. He went on to speak about his hope that God would use them to start a great and lasting revival in England.

The end of Hebrews 11 tells us how many Christians suffered and died for God's glory. Verses 36–38 says,

"Some faced jeers and flogging,
while still others were chained
and put in prison.
They were stoned;
they were sawed in two;
they were put to death by the sword.
They went about in sheepskins
and goatskins,
destitute, persecuted and mistreated—
the world was not worthy of them.
They wandered in deserts and mountains,
and in caves and holes in the ground."

The world was not worthy of them. We need to be like them. Hebrews 12:2 says,

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him
endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand
of the throne of God."

We should not lose hope in suffering. You belong to God. You were created in God's image to reflect His glory. Job lost sight of that. John Calvin said, (Sermons on Job: Chapters 1-14, Sermon 41)

"Let us even consider the purpose God has for us to live in this world; for if we die in infancy, we have neither understanding nor reason, but with age we learn what we did not know, which is that God formed us in his image and gave us understanding so we could know that we not only have this life to pass through here below but that there is a permanent life in heaven to which he calls us. Now, if we are taken from this world as if we had never existed, we are deprived of the blessing of knowing that God wants to be our eternal Savior and that he is giving us some indication of his love while we are pilgrims on this earth."

What honor God has given us—to live for Him, for His glory. In 1 Peter 2:9 Peter wrote,

"But you are a chosen people,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises
of him who called you out of darkness
into his wonderful light."

Christians you are the light of the world. Are we to be the light of the world only when things are going good for us, only when we are not suffering? No. We are to do it especially when things are difficult. May God give you grace to do so.