What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass? Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me? To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty. (Job 6:11-14)
In Job’s reply to Eliphaz, he seeks to do three things:
- Vindicate himself from the charge of being a hypocrite.
- To reinforce that he is just to ask for death (he considers himself a just man and sees no reason why his life should continue)
- To demonstrate that he had not denied God’s justice (v.24-27)
In the midst of this, however, he continues to place on himself comfort only in the life to come, and thereby limiting God is His providence to comfort His afflicted people in this life. It is not that we should not hope for the life to come. Our blessed reward is our hope. However, Job imagines that God cannot comfort him in that hope and deliver him from the affliction now. That is his mistake.
If we immediately go to our hope in resurrection in times of trial and do not seek Him, we are attempting to limit God. God, as James 1 says, uses these trials to build in us virtues and temperaments for our sanctification and to build in us a greater hope for the life to come. We should go to him in prayer and supplication, and wait on the Lord to redeem (Psalm 130:6) us from the trials we are in. Indeed, this will ultimately strengthen our hope in the life to come.
One practical way to build this hope in trial is to read, meditate, and sing the Psalms, which everywhere speak of God’s deliverance in times of trial. Consider today building for yourself a better devotion to the Psalter, which God has given us for building our hope in God and his deliverance.
Here’s a few readings on the Psalter that I recommend:
“Letter to Marcellinus on the Psalms” by Athanasius of Alexandria