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Hope When Life Falls Apart

Job’s Anti-Creation Curse Lament and Hope

Many Christians push a picture of Christianity as running through a field of unicorns and lollipops. Right from the start, we will say that Christian life brings joy and hope. It turns sorrow into gladness once we depend on God and know what He is doing, and trust what He will do in the future.

We also can be quick to forget that we have that joy and hope through the sorrow, which means life is tough sometimes. We need those things to counter the reality of what we are going through. This is why we have an entire book in Scripture called Lamentation – full of lament, being a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. We must also consider that the largest genre in the Psalms is lament.

As we read the book of Job we also find lament. Job is going through deep struggles physically, relationally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially, and all at once. In Job, Chapter 3, we not only see Job writing a lament, but a curse lament. Job curses and laments things in his life, and even creation itself which he sees as leading up to his miserable existence at this point. 

What is interesting, Job actually gives an anti-creation lament. His desire is for creation to have never happened so that he is never born. Therefore he would not have existed and never would have gone through the pain he experienced. Here is a side-by-side comparison of Genesis 1 and Job 3.

Day 1 God Genesis 1:3b “let there be LIGHT.” 

Day 1 Job Job 3:4 “let it be DARKNESS.”

Day 2 God Genesis 1:7b “God divided between the waters.” God attended to the land.

Day 2 Job Job 3:4b “May God above NOT SEEK it.” Let God ignore the land.

Day 4 God Genesis 1:14 “Let there be LIGHTS.”

Day 4 Job Job 3:6b “let thick DARKNESS seize it.”

Day 5 God Genesis 1:21 “God created the great SEA CREATURES.”

Day 5 Job Job 3:8b “Curse the day to rouse up LEVIATHAN.”

Day 6 God Genesis 1:26 “Let us MAKE MAN.”

Day 6 Job 3:11a “Why did I NOT DIE at birth.”

Day 7 God Genesis 2:2-3 “He RESTED on the seventh day from all his work.”

Day 7 Job Job 3:13 “I would be asleep and at REST [if I had died at birth, but I don’t have rest].”

If you are reading this, you may have noticed something that was missing. Day 3 is not seen in Job’s creation lament. Some would contend otherwise, but we can happily disagree on this sub point. This could be pure speculation, but some scholars, including John E. Hartley in his commentary on the book of Job, believe Job is writing an ant-creation story. If this is happening, why would he leave out such an easy detail as day 3? 

We understand when we read the Bible that the number seven is often used as a symbol of perfection. Most likely what Job was doing here was poetically (since the book is poetic) drawing attention to the number six, which throughout Scripture is the number for chaos, or imperfection. Seven is order, and six is disorder. Job could be telling us sublimily here that he feels like his life is in chaos and disorder, which would exactly fit the narrative of the book of Job. Whether we are dealing with a 6 or 7 day anti-creation story, the point is we are dealing with an anti-creation story. 

Job feels like his life is full of chaos, disorder, and loss of God Himself. We know how Job feels and why he feels that way. We saw that he has written this for us. Let me suggest, if you are going through dire times as well, to follow this practice. I think it is healthy to physically express how you feel at times. It will help those jumbled, cloudy thoughts become concrete. Sometimes this helps people from feeling like they have to continue to think about them, and make sense of them if they have put them in words.

The question is what did Job do with those thoughts? He did not fulfill the actions of his feelings. In other words, while he cursed his life and lamented over it, he did not take things into his own hands. He instead calls out to God. He trusts Him. He trusts God’s earthly and eternal plan. Towards the end of Job he makes this great proclamation of his hope and trust: it was in Jesus, his future Messianic redeemer. Job 19:25 says, “ For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth.” 

If you are going through a rough time right now, have you talked to God about it? Take time to write out the trials you are going through. Hash them out with God. And if you are a believer, put your faith and trust in His earthly and eternal plan. Know that while your life may be full of chaos and disorder right now, that if you have entered His eternal Kingdom. One day He will make all things right, and we will live with Him in an eternal state of order and perfection.

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