“The nights drag on forever, but the days fly past.” I remember enduring an illness where the nights dragged on without end. I would lie awake and worry that I would die. I feared falling asleep because of my low pulse and sluggish heart. If I dozed off, I would wake up with a start, kicking myself that I had fallen asleep. Through the day, I tried to rest but could not. I tried to cling to each moment of daylight but they raced by so fast. Night would come only too soon and it would drag on forever once again.
Times of trial and struggle remind us how mortal we are. Job felt so horrible during his physical duress he wanted to die. Maggots had gotten into his sores and he knew death was close at hand. Rather than begging God for his life, he began to give God notice not to come looking for him. He felt so close to the grave that he was sure he would soon be in it.
He began to feel pretty small. In his insignificance, he lashed out in desperation. “You frighten me in my miserable nights, God, with stupid dreams and horror visions!” (See Job 7:14.) Why would a person lash out at the only one who could rescue him? Because we are small. In pain, we see how small we are. We try to attack our Maker in a last swipe at finding meaning. Surely if we can bring Him down to our misery, we will feel a little bigger.
“God, why do you pick on me? Leave me along for cotton-picking minute long enough that I can swallow the spit in my mouth!” (See Job 7:19.) “Fine, if that’s how you want it to be, I will just go off and die, then don’t bother come looking for me, you won’t find me anymore.” (From Job 7:21.) Like Job, small men languish in quiet lives of desperation until pain provokes their true feelings to the surface.
Rather than cause us to challenge God, our misery should cause us to surrender to His greatness.