4 min 6 mths

Dear Readers,
Job, amidst his profound suffering, finds powerful words to describe his anguish: “Oh, that my grief were fully weighed, and my calamity laid with it on the scales! For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea; therefore, my words have been rash.” (Job 6:2–3)
This vivid depiction provides us with insight into the intensity of Job’s pain. Imagine having all the sand of the sea on one side of the scale and Job’s sorrow and suffering on the other—and yet, the latter weighs heavier than the countless grains of sand.
It is essential to recognize that Job’s pain is an individual experience. Often, we hear of widespread tragedies with many victims, whether caused by human actions or natural disasters. The numbers of the dead and injured can be overwhelming. However, just as Job bore his pain alone, each person experiences their suffering in a personal way. The concept of a “collective suffering of all humanity” does not align with reality. Each person undergoes their own pain, their own tragedy.
Even well-intentioned words like “I can empathize with your pain” have limitations. People can only feel their own pain, arising in response to the suffering of others. We cannot truly share or fully understand individual suffering.
As Christians, we are called, according to James 1:27 and Matthew 25:34–40, to alleviate the suffering of others. Yet, despite the immense suffering in the world, we can be thankful that no one suffers more than they can bear, with one exception.
Let us reflect on the limitations of individual suffering. How does this perspective change your view of the challenging topic of human suffering? In acknowledging the uniqueness of each pain, may empathy for the individual grow.
Merciful God,
In this shared reflection on Job’s deep pain, we come before you, who knows the individual suffering of every person. Job compared his sorrow to the weight of sand by the sea, and we recognize the uniqueness and intensity of his personal pain.
We ask for insight and understanding into the individuality of suffering. In a world often shaken by widespread tragedies, let us not overlook the personal stories and unique pain of each individual.
Help us approach the limited understanding of our own pains and the impossibility of fully sharing the pain of others with more mindfulness. May empathy for the individual grow as we become aware of the uniqueness of each suffering.
We thank you for providing us comfort and encouragement, even when we cannot fully grasp the depth of suffering. May our reflection on Job’s individual struggle in the sea of pain strengthen our compassion and lead us to be more attentive to the needs of our fellow humans.
In love and unity, we pray, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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