Focal passage: Job 14:1-14
In 2000, Linkin Park released a song titled “In the End.” The song captures the feeling of hopelessness amidst suffering. The chorus encapsulates the despair of the singer: “I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end it doesn’t even matter. I had to fall to lose it all, but in the end it doesn’t even matter.” In these words, many find the embodiment of their own anguish when engulfed by hardship. How many? Well, if numbers explain anything, the music video has 1.2 billion views on YouTube. Perhaps viewers are drawn to the lyrics because they too believe there is no significance to life now and no hope beyond this world of suffering later. In the end, maybe it truly doesn’t even matter?
Those who feel hopeless should be comforted by the fact that Job once had similar feelings. When he encountered waves of catastrophe (Job 1-2), and after his friends proved to be more harmful than helpful (Job 4-13), Job lamented humanity’s existence as one of “few days and full of trouble” (14:1), like withering flowers and fading shadows (14:2). In despondency, Job asked God to leave him alone so he could find relief like a worker who clocks out at the end of the workday (14:4-6). Job experienced excruciating loss. But now he was carrying the unbearable weight of his unanswered questions.
Job sunk into despair. While a hewn tree can find hope to sprout again, there seems to be no hope for humanity (14:7-10). Job pessimistically reasoned that when we die, we do not rise again (14:10-12). His despair eventually led him to ask God to hide him in death (14:13). In his distress, Job seemed to resonate with Linkin Park’s iconic lyrics. To Job, in the end, did it even matter?
Yet, in his pain, Job revealed that he believed hope could meet him beyond the grave. He determined that if God would grant relief, he would wait for it, even if that meant waiting for the rest of his days (14:14). Later, Job would learn that this hope was not a mere possibility, but a fixed certainty: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth … and I shall see God” (19:25-26). That Redeemer is Jesus, whose death and resurrection answers Job’s question, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (14:14a). Our Redeemer says, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19).
Job shows that even the most righteous person is not exempt from despair. Yet, through the agony, Job demonstrates that believers find hope in God alone. Because God has given a Redeemer to conquer death, we have significance now and hope for the future. Therefore, even if we lose it all like Job, we do not conclude that in the end it doesn’t even matter. Because we know our Redeemer lives, everything matters both now and forever (1 Corinthians 15:58).