The Meaning of Suffering
1I am a man who has seen the suffering
that comes from the rod of the Lord’s anger.
2He led me
into darkness, not light.
3He turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.
4He wore out my flesh and skin
and broke my bones.
5He surrounded me with sadness
and attacked me with grief.
6He made me sit in the dark,
like those who have been dead a long time.
7He shut me in so I could not get out;
he put heavy chains on me.
8I cry out and beg for help,
but he ignores my prayer.
9He blocked my way with a stone wall
and led me in the wrong direction.
10He is like a bear ready to attack me,
like a lion in hiding.
11He led me the wrong way and let me stray
and left me without help.
12He prepared to shoot his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.
13He shot me in the kidneys
with the arrows from his bag.
14I was a joke to all my people,
who make fun of me with songs all day long.
15The Lord filled me with misery;
he made me drunk with suffering.
16He broke my teeth with gravel
and trampled me into the dirt.
17I have no more peace.
I have forgotten what happiness is.
18I said, “My strength is gone,
and I have no hope in the Lord.”
19Lord, remember my suffering and my misery,
my sorrow and trouble.
20Please remember me
and think about me.
21But I have hope
when I think of this:
22The Lord’s love never ends;
his mercies never stop.
23They are new every morning;
Lord, your loyalty is great.
24I say to myself, “The Lord is mine,
so I hope in him.”
25The Lord is good to those who hope in him,
to those who seek him.
26It is good to wait quietly
for the Lord to save.
27It is good for someone to work hard
while he is young.
28He should sit alone and be quiet;
the Lord has given him hard work to do.
29He should bow down to the ground;
maybe there is still hope.
30He should let anyone slap his cheek;
he should be filled with shame.
31The Lord will not reject
his people forever.
32Although he brings sorrow,
he also has mercy and great love.
33He does not like to punish people
or make them sad.
34He sees if any prisoner of the earth
is crushed under his feet;
35he sees if someone is treated unfairly
before the Most High God;
36the Lord sees
if someone is cheated in his case in court.
37Nobody can speak and have it happen
unless the Lord commands it.
38Both bad and good things
come by the command of the Most High God.
39No one should complain
when he is punished for his sins.
40Let us examine and see what we have done
and then return to the Lord.
41Let us lift up our hands and pray from our hearts
to God in heaven:
42“We have sinned and turned against you,
and you have not forgiven us.
43“You wrapped yourself in anger and chased us;
you killed us without mercy.
44You wrapped yourself in a cloud,
and no prayer could get through.
45You made us like scum and trash
among the other nations.
46“All of our enemies
open their mouths and speak against us.
47We have been frightened and fearful,
ruined and destroyed.”
48Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
because my people are destroyed.
49My tears flow continually,
50until the Lord looks down
and sees from heaven.
51I am sad when I see
what has happened to all the women of my city.
52Those who are my enemies for no reason
hunted me like a bird.
53They tried to kill me in a pit;
they threw stones at me.
54Water came up over my head,
and I said, “I am going to die.”
55I called out to you, Lord,
from the bottom of the pit.
56You heard me calling, “Do not close your ears
and ignore my gasps and shouts.”
57You came near when I called to you;
you said, “Don’t be afraid.”
58Lord, you have taken my case
and given me back my life.
59Lord, you have seen how I have been wronged.
Now judge my case for me.
60You have seen how my enemies took revenge on me
and made evil plans against me.
61Lord, you have heard their insults
and all their evil plans against me.
62The words and thoughts of my enemies
are against me all the time.
63Look! In everything they do
they make fun of me with songs.
64Pay them back, Lord,
for what they have done.
65Make them stubborn,
and put your curse on them.
66Chase them in anger, Lord,
and destroy them from under your heavens.