My Days are Past (Job 17:11)

“My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.”

A simple statement, yet a profound one: when considered in the context of Job’s sufferings. Here is a man that had everything, and has lost it (except his life), and yet, he feels that his life is over. He believes that his good days are past, and his hopes and dreams cut off.
 
Before we condemn Job for his lack of faith and assumptions, we must consider that it is easy for any person, in such a state, to start thinking such thoughts. Please consider a few truths, along with this verse:
 
1.) Our lives are not over, until they are over. The Bible puts forth the principle of “as long as there is life, there is hope.” This is applicable for many things, including salvation and Christian living. No matter our situation, we cannot assume that God will not be able to use us. God is able to use us despite our gender, age, circumstances, health, finances, and skill. He is able to labor together with us, and allow great fruit to come from such labor (should He desire). He is God, and He is not done with us, until He is. As long as there is life, there is hope. As long as there is a faithful, willing heart, there is great success, in God’s eyes (Josh 1:8).
 
The great struggle in the story of Job comes from, not his physical suffering, but the misconception that the sinful are always suffering, while the righteous are always prosperous. This is a misnomer, and a lie especially of those that promote the Prosperity Gospel. But, Job and his friends had to learn this the hard way (as do we, at times).
 
2.) Our desires may need to be changed by our circumstances. This is more of an inference than a direct observation, but I believe it to be no less true. We all have our desires, and many of those are directly related to our current circumstances.
 
For instance, in his book, Job begins as a rich, healthy, influential man with a loving wife, children, and friends. All of this is directly observable from Job 1-3. Satan is allowed to turn all of this on its head: making Job to become a poor, sick man with no influence, dead children, and an unloving wife and friends. His life is turned upside-down, and, no doubt, his desires changed also.
 
For reference, consider Moses’ life. He thought himself a deliverer of Israel, and acted as such. Shortly thereafter, God had to humble him, and his desires went from being a protector of Israel to that of sheep. Sure, the desire to help his people still existed, but the circumstances of the time did not allow for it. He was forced to live in the present (as are we all).
 
The point is this: sometimes we get comfortable: living in a rut, and being accustomed to a certain way of living (whatever that may be: rich, poor, sick, healthy, etc.). God’s Word repeatedly shows that, when His sheep get in a rut, they are in a spiritually dangerous position (consider the message of Psalm 23).
 
Trouble tends to strengthen, define, and refine us. We may feel like life is over, but God is often trying to show us just who He is, and what life is all about, so that we will become better Christians. A sick, poor man that has lost everything has different desires than the opposite. The sick often just want to get better. The unloved just want to be loved. The bereaved just want to be comforted. Job states such things, in his book. These desires are not complex, but simple, and they make us to appreciate life, health, loved ones, and other precious parts of life much better. For instance, the previously homeless tend to appreciate having a home, more than those that have never been. The previously sick tend to appreciate being well, more than those that have been largely well. Those that have deceased loved ones tend to appreciate having living ones, more than those that have never lost one to death. Trouble breeds simple desires.
 
When we are rich, we are tempted to desire more riches. When we are well, we tend to take that health for granted. When we have living parents, children, and other relatives, we tend to take life for granted. When we are loved, we can take that for granted too. The loss of these things and people tend to make us appreciate what we have not lost. It gets us back to basics. It draws us closer to God. At least, that is what it is intended to do (we do have the option to sinfully fall into despair of ourselves and bitterness against God).
 
So the challenge is this: 1.) Wherever you are in life, remember that God put you there, and has a use for you there. He is not done with you, until He is done. Is He drawing you to salvation (believing on the Person and Work of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins [I Cor 15:1-4]), or for purification, as His child (to become more like Christ [I Peter 1:7-12]? 2.) Be grateful for your life. Things can always be worse. Health can be turned to sickness, love to hatred, influence to obscurity, and riches to poverty.  
 
As long as there is life, there is hope, and, as long as there is a faithful, willing heart, there is success, in God’s sight, and, considering the grand scheme of things: His judgment is all that matters.