It Might be a Sin to Wish for Death, but...
Principle #4 on Adversity from the Book of Job by Dr. Tim Pollock
It Might be a Sin to Wish for Death, but it is not Wrong to Wish for Heaven.
“After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.” Job 3:1
In Job chapters 2 and 3 we find insult being added to injury. Satan never quits. He is the sworn enemy of mankind and loves to attack even when a man is at his lowest.“And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face” Job 2:4, 5. God allowed Satan to touch Job’s body, but put a limit on it.
We read that some sort of skin disease progressed, perhaps even cancer, so much so that his entire body became covered with open sores! He couldn’t get any relief and had lost all of his money so he really couldn’t hire any physicians. He also couldn’t get any medicine. He had no servants that would come and help him. He couldn’t sleep. What could a man do in such a terrible condition. He turned to the only thing that he could – he turned to his beloved mate. He hoped that his wife would reach out, and somehow comfort his body and spirit. But sadly she had gotten so upset and overcome because of all the loss and problems, she had a faith crisis of her own. She straight up told her husband to curse God and commit suicide (Job 2:9)!
And if that wasn’t bad enough, now Job is going to have to endure the betrayal of friends. “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great” Job 2:11-13. Now, to the credit of Job’s friends they did at least come to visit Job in his sickness. I do not believe that they meant to betray...at least at first. I really think their motive was to come and somehow be a help to him. But as it turns out these friends got all caught up in the trash talk surrounding Job. They may have come with a good motive, but soon got infected from all the negative talk.
Finally, Job begins to speak up. In Job 3 we find Job’s “death wish”. He wishes he had not been born or at the least, that he had died at birth, “After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day” Job 3:1. Most people have parties on their birthday but his grief was so profound that he “cursed” his birthday. This doesn’t mean that he cursed God. It just means he wished that he had never been born. Now, you don’t see Job wishing that he had ever been born again! He’s thankful for his faith and his God. He was never bitter at God. He had seen all the good that God had done for him.
The words of Job are done in a poetical style. He is a cup that is brimming with pain and it can’t help but spill over with copious words. He complained to God, “You could’ve saved everybody a whole lot of trouble if you had just killed me.” Frankly, as you read through chapter 3, it appears as though he’s obsessed with dying. It almost sounds like he wanted to commit suicide. But that’s NOT what he is saying. It may be a sin to be constantly wishing for death but it certainly can’t be wrong to wish for heaven! I really think that’s where his heart was. He was longing for heaven! He basically was saying, “I want out of this place”.
Paul mused in the New Testament, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” Philippians 1:23.Many people who are suffering from terminal illness, painful conditions, intense sadness or emotional pain have a “desire to depart.” When Job “cursed his day” I think he, like Paul, was simply wanting to go to heaven who called that a “departure”. It was as if he was in an airport waiting to leave on the next plane. It was not so much that he wanted to depart from earth, but that he wanted to be with Christ! Yes, he was tired of all the pain. He really wanted to be in the presence of Jesus and loved ones that have gone on. He desired to be done with sin once and for all.
Wanting to die and escape from suffering, whether emotional or physical, is a very human condition. Suffering is hard. When we are under the intense pressure of suffering, we sometimes feel like we simply can’t go on any longer. But reassure yourself that heaven WILL come and a lot sooner than you think. Until then, you have a job to do!