“I wish I had never been born.” “I wish I could just go ahead and die.” These are the sort of phrases we hear when helping the extremely depressed loved ones in our lives. However, when we read about Job asking, “Why did I not perish at birth” (Job 3:11) or suggest he is like, “those who long for death that does not come” (Job 3:21), it is easy to be caught off guard. Many of us, accustomed to happy endings, are uncomfortable with the Bible showcasing such unresolved frustration like we encounter in Job 3.
During our trek together through the scriptures, we have read similar brutal honesty from the likes of David while reading his psalms. We have learned that it is good for people to bring their concerns to God in authentic fashion. Now, in Job’s circumstances, his words increase our awareness of the narrative tension. We are left to wonder: What answers will Job receive? Will God tell Job the meaning of His suffering? or Will Job find comfort? Job 3 is important, just like the two previous chapters in framing the forthcoming discussions between Job and his friends.