Pressed Past the Limits

8-13 “All I want is an answer to one prayer,
    a last request to be honored:
Let God step on me—squash me like a bug,
    and be done with me for good.
I’d at least have the satisfaction
    of not having blasphemed the Holy God,
    before being pressed past the limits.
Where’s the strength to keep my hopes up?
    What future do I have to keep me going?
Do you think I have nerves of steel?
    Do you think I’m made of iron?
Do you think I can pull myself up by my bootstraps?
    Why, I don’t even have any boots!

My So-Called Friends

14-23 “When desperate people give up on God Almighty,
    their friends, at least, should stick with them.
But my brothers are fickle as a gulch in the desert—
    one day they’re gushing with water
From melting ice and snow
    cascading out of the mountains,
But by midsummer they’re dry,
    gullies baked dry in the sun.
Travelers who spot them and go out of their way for a drink
    end up in a waterless gulch and die of thirst.
Merchant caravans from Tema see them and expect water,
    tourists from Sheba hope for a cool drink.
They arrive so confident—but what a disappointment!
    They get there, and their faces fall!
And you, my so-called friends, are no better—
        there’s nothing to you!
    One look at a hard scene and you shrink in fear.
It’s not as though I asked you for anything—
    I didn’t ask you for one red cent—
Nor did I beg you to go out on a limb for me.
    So why all this dodging and shuffling?

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