I gained more insight into my own struggle with suicide from “The Trial of Job,” by Patrick Reardon than from any therapy or any pill I have been given. In this meditation I will use his insights without further attribution.
The Book of Job had always been difficult for me because I could not relate to Job, a righteous man. I know that I am a sinner. Not a day passes that I don’t need God’s forgiveness.
Patrick Reardon’s commentary reveals Job as having no idea why he is suffering. God had allowed Satan to try Job’s faith by bringing tragedy on Job’s entire life. God insisted that Satan protect only Job’s person. God, Satan and the reader of Job know that God has allowed this trial but Job does not. How could he? As a Gentile, not a Jew, he had never heard of God’s trial of Abraham and Isaac and so he didn’t have an inkling that his suffering had this terrible meaning. Job’s faithfulness in trial pleased God. That is, the faithfulness of Job gave God glory.
Throughout the gospel of John, Jesus speaks of his upcoming death as giving glory to the Father. So the trial of Job is a precursor of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
I realize that God allowing man to suffer would be no comfort to an atheist or agnostic or a modern Christian who does not believe that sin offends God. i believe that man can need a savior only if he has personally sinned. Jesus’ death on a cross has redeemed me from being an outcast to God and given me eternal life with Him. I am grateful and love God because he first loved me. Therefore if it pleases God to try my faith through loss of a loved one or the temptation to suicide, so be it! So easily said yet so hard to bear.
God must have had a lot of confidence in Job’s love for him to allow Satan to tempt him to despair. God also knew that if Job stayed true, his faith would grow. In contrast Satan was sure that Job when he lost all his good things would curse God. In other words, Satan is sure that man is inherently selfish. That he loves God only for the benefits that come to him.
After Job loses every earthly blessing, his children, his flocks and his homes, he does not curse God. So Satan must once again go to God and propose that since Job only endured the loss of his wealth and children that if God allows him to lose his health then he will curse God. God continues in his belief in Job’s love for him and lets Satan have his way with him. God afflicts Job with all kinds of sickness Perhaps even leprosy. Job is left sitting on an ash heap scraping his itching, rotting flesh with a pottery shard. While Job is in terrible pain, I believe that his greatest pain must have been his mental confusion. I wonder if he considered suicide. He cursed the day he was born and his wife encouraged him to curse God which he would not do. While he no longer praised God, he did endure silently and would not curse God
Having lost, Satan permanently exits from the story of Job.
However to make matters worse for poor Job, his friends arrive to comfort him.