The worst calamity is to be suffering and not to know why.

By Job 2:10, Satan has done his worst to Job and retreated from his life. God is silent and doesn’t make sense, and Job is alone.

Three of Job’s friends come to commiserate with him in Job 2:11-12. They respect his agony and sit with him in silence for 7 days.

In chapter 3, Job speaks. He asks the question “Why?” twenty times in this book, and a few are in this chapter. He asks why he was born (Job 3:3-10), why he is still alive (Job 3:11-19), and why he can’t die now (Job 3:20-26).

Unexpected calamity can throw anyone into emotional turmoil and confusion, even someone who God describes as righteous. Elijah expressed similar feelings in 1 Kings 19. Missionary Adoniram Judson became a recluse after losing his wife and several children, and his distress was deepened by feelings of guilt for his apparent spiritual weakness, until he dug a grave and sat by it pondering similar questions as Job.

Job thinks dying before he was born would be preferable to his current suffering. He wishes he had not survived or that his life could end now. He views death as a gift of rest. He makes a few statements that makes us question his theological correctness, but corrects his perspective later in the book. We often don’t think straight in distress.

Verse 25 reveals that Job had wondered, imagined, or feared what calamity might befall him while he was prosperous. It is possible to experience worry or anxiety about the unknown even when one’s character is righteous.

Job mentions God by name twice in this chapter (verse 4 and 23). He is struggling, but at least he’s talking to God.


Do Christians get depressed? Job records many of the symptoms of what we now call depression: weight loss, sleep disturbance, lethargy, crying, struggle to think properly, feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, etc. As in the case of Elijah, such feelings can even come after experiencing a high point. We must remember to stay in love with God and His Word at all times so we will be equipped to handle lows and highs. A healthy relationship with God allows us to face pain with honesty.

Job spoke to God because He knew God would hear him. It is healthy to speak about our pain. This helps Job start to work his way to the settled heart he expresses later in the book (Job 23:10, 42:5). We never have to endure suffering alone: we walk through it with God.

C.H. Spurgeon acknowledged before his whole congregation when he was wrestling with feelings of despondency. Jesus tearfully asked His Father to take the cup of suffering away from Him if there was any other way (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46). This full disclosure to God and others is healthy. Stay open and transparent about your struggles with God, before His Word, and with other saints.


Was Job’s reaction sinful? Is it ungodly to question? Some Bible commentators say Job steps out of line in this passage, attributing his response to the fact that he didn’t know much Scripture since it wasn’t available at this time.

However, Job’s friends are who God tells to offer sacrifices at the end of the book; He does not tell Job to repent (Job 42:7-9). We must remember that God’s grace has the power to change us no matter how much or how little we know of God’s Word. Job evidently had spent time meditating on whatever portion of revelation he had received and placed his trust in what he knew of God. We have much more Scripture revealed to us today; yet we are all still human, fallen, and weak.

The Old Testament was written for our learning (Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 10:6-11).

Peace and resolution didn’t come to Job’s heart because he received new truth; he didn’t. He eventually reconciled his heart with what truth he already had. This is the same for us. One word from God is enough to save us and keep us. No matter how abandoned we feel, it is enough to make us persevere.

Adoniram Judson observed another saint who lost her husband but was able to keep serving with a cheerful attitude. Not every believer handles calamity in the same way; but all remain saints, because God’s grace is what sustains them.

Application Points

  • What do you think of Job’s response to his calamity in chapter 3? Have you experienced or seen similar emotional turmoil in response to the unexpected? Is this okay?
  • Does Job say anything that makes us raise our eyebrows and wonder about his theological correctness? We often don’t think straight in distress. How can you react helpfully to other hurting people (or yourself) when they are speaking out of pain?
  • A healthy relationship with God allows us to face pain with honesty. We never have to endure suffering alone: we walk through it with God. Don’t hold your hurt in. Share what you are experiencing with God and other saints.
  • Feelings of depression can come even after the highs of life. What prepares us to endure the lows as well? How can you stay in love with God and His Word at all times?
  • What brought peace to Job’s heart by the end of the book? When in pain, do you look for new truth, or do you reconcile your heart to what God's Word already says?
A Hymn to Encourage: "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.