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The Meaning of Suffering

I am a man who has seen the suffering
    that comes from the rod of the Lord’s anger.
He led me
    into darkness, not light.
He turned his hand against me
    again and again, all day long.

He wore out my flesh and skin
    and broke my bones.
He surrounded me with sadness
    and attacked me with grief.
He made me sit in the dark,
    like those who have been dead a long time.

He shut me in so I could not get out;
    he put heavy chains on me.
I cry out and beg for help,
    but he ignores my prayer.
He blocked my way with a stone wall
    and led me in the wrong direction.

10 He is like a bear ready to attack me,
    like a lion in hiding.
11 He led me the wrong way and let me stray
    and left me without help.
12 He prepared to shoot his bow
    and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He shot me in the kidneys
    with the arrows from his bag.
14 I was a joke to all my people,
    who make fun of me with songs all day long.
15 The Lord filled me with misery;
    he made me drunk with suffering.

16 He broke my teeth with gravel
    and trampled me into the dirt.
17 I have no more peace.
    I have forgotten what happiness is.
18 I said, “My strength is gone,
    and I have no hope in the Lord.”

19 Lord, remember my suffering and my misery,
    my sorrow and trouble.
20 Please remember me
    and think about me.
21 But I have hope
    when I think of this:

22 The Lord’s love never ends;
    his mercies never stop.
23 They are new every morning;
    Lord, your loyalty is great.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is mine,
    so I hope in him.”

25 The Lord is good to those who hope in him,
    to those who seek him.
26 It is good to wait quietly
    for the Lord to save.
27 It is good for someone to work hard
    while he is young.

28 He should sit alone and be quiet;
    the Lord has given him hard work to do.
29 He should bow down to the ground;
    maybe there is still hope.
30 He should let anyone slap his cheek;
    he should be filled with shame.

31 The Lord will not reject
    his people forever.
32 Although he brings sorrow,
    he also has mercy and great love.
33 He does not like to punish people
    or make them sad.

34 He sees if any prisoner of the earth
    is crushed under his feet;
35 he sees if someone is treated unfairly
    before the Most High God;
36 the Lord sees
    if someone is cheated in his case in court.

37 Nobody can speak and have it happen
    unless the Lord commands it.
38 Both bad and good things
    come by the command of the Most High God.
39 No one should complain
    when he is punished for his sins.

40 Let us examine and see what we have done
    and then return to the Lord.
41 Let 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.
44 You wrapped yourself in a cloud,
    and no prayer could get through.
45 You made us like scum and trash
    among the other nations.

46 “All of our enemies
    open their mouths and speak against us.
47 We have been frightened and fearful,
    ruined and destroyed.”
48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
    because my people are destroyed.

49 My tears flow continually,
    without stopping,
50 until the Lord looks down
    and sees from heaven.
51 I am sad when I see
    what has happened to all the women of my city.

52 Those who are my enemies for no reason
    hunted me like a bird.
53 They tried to kill me in a pit;
    they threw stones at me.
54 Water came up over my head,
    and I said, “I am going to die.”
55 I called out to you, Lord,
    from the bottom of the pit.
56 You heard me calling, “Do not close your ears
    and ignore my gasps and shouts.”
57 You came near when I called to you;
    you said, “Don’t be afraid.”

58 Lord, you have taken my case
    and given me back my life.
59 Lord, you have seen how I have been wronged.
    Now judge my case for me.
60 You have seen how my enemies took revenge on me
    and made evil plans against me.

61 Lord, you have heard their insults
    and all their evil plans against me.
62 The words and thoughts of my enemies
    are against me all the time.
63 Look! In everything they do
    they make fun of me with songs.

64 Pay them back, Lord,
    for what they have done.
65 Make them stubborn,
    and put your curse on them.
66 Chase them in anger, Lord,
    and destroy them from under your heavens.

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