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What does it mean that man is few of days and full of trouble (Job 14:1)?

few of days and full of trouble

Job 14:1 says, “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.” That was spoken by a man who knew what he was talking about. Job was in the midst of the worst kind of suffering a person can endure. God had allowed Satan to torment Job for a brief time in order to test Job and show the devil that human beings could love and choose the Lord even when they received no earthly benefit from it. In the book of Job, we find many revelations about God, and we also identify with a righteous man who was going through the storm through no fault of his own. Job’s life testified to his words: his days were few, and they were surely full of trouble.

Job’s words that “man is few of days” remind us that our lives are short compared with eternity. Even the longest human lifespan is but a speck of dust when placed on the scale of infinity. Yet, when we are suffering, our days seem endless. Because of that, we may make decisions to say and do things we would not otherwise say and do. Satan wants to deceive us into believing that the day of reckoning is light-years away (Matthew 12:36; Hebrews 9:27). But judgment is nearer than we think. James wrote, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). And Jesus warned that “you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Luke 12:40).

Job said that man is “full of trouble,” and Jesus confirmed it: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Becoming a Christian does not protect us from trouble. In fact, taking up our cross to follow Jesus may mean that life gets harder, not easier (Luke 9:23). For centuries, Christians living in countries with oppressive governments have invited more trouble simply by trusting Christ for salvation. Even those in relatively free parts of the world face external difficulties and, internally, their own sinful desires as they strive to follow Christ (John 15:18; Romans 7:18–20).

One reason God allows trials in our lives is that they force us to refocus on eternity. This world is not all there is. In fact, our earthly existence is only a tiny fragment of the life God has planned for His children. Jesus urged us to store our real treasure in heaven where nothing can harm or destroy it (Matthew 6:19–20). To know Christ is to be thankful that our days are few because to “be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). That knowledge strengthens us to take heart and not let earthly troubles overwhelm us. The trouble we are full of won’t last long. Paul gives us a healthy perspective on the fact that man is few of days and full of trouble: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:16–17).

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What does it mean that man is few of days and full of trouble (Job 14:1)?
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This page last updated: January 4, 2022