When Life Seems to Have No Meaning
Pastor Bruce Wietzke
Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? We know such a question is not uncommon in our world. We live among a people who not only may ask such a question concerning themselves, but may also cut short the life of the unborn before they can grow to ask such a question. We live among a people who also suggest that if this is how persons feel, they should be allowed to end their lives. Many do.
As those of us who truly love life hear this question, we might wonder who said it and wish we could help the person realize how precious life is. When someone talks like this – wishing he would die or that he had never been born – we know the person is in some kind of severe depression. Perhaps he has been caught in a sin and doesn’t wish to face up to it; the spiritual pain seems too great. Perhaps life seems so hard that he feels he cannot go on. Maybe these words are from someone who is enduring so much physical pain that death would seem the easier path to walk – if he cannot wish himself back into the womb and die there!
We Christians might judge such a person as lacking faith, or as an unbeliever. We need to be careful with such a judgment, however. In weakness we may have thought these words ourselves, but could have added: “Lord, I believe; help me overcome my unbelief! Lord, I believe you died to erase my sins, but I cannot bear my life as it is; help me rely on you and place my life in your hands.”
If we have gone through such times ourselves – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – we may be better equipped to counsel someone with similar thoughts. God uses such low times to lead us to turn to him, to see in the words of Hannah that “the LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.” (1 Samuel 2:6ff)
As we go through such times or know of others who have, we will turn to the Scriptures for answers rather than look to ourselves. As we look to our Father in heaven, who lavishes us sinners with his love in Christ, as we look to the Scriptures and hear Paul assure us, “we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), we can confidently face each day. We can know and tell others that God’s compassions “are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23). Our forgiving, loving Father is with us to face each step of the path on which he leads us. And, “if God is for us, who can be against us?”
Yes, despite a strong faith, we may fall into depression and be tempted to cry out “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” or something similar. But then especially, we need to turn to the Lord for pardon and comfort and help. That’s what Job did. For, you see, that’s who asked this very question (Job 3:11, 10:18). If even faithful Job could fall into asking such a question, certainly it is not beyond us! If and when it happens, we know where to turn for the answer. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble … the LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:1, 7).
May the LORD lead us away from dwelling on or grieving over our troubles, and use us instead to counsel others to see that God has a reason for all of us to be here. He will continue to bless us as we turn to him for comfort and strength and life.