The epic of Gilgamesh and the story of Job both depict how human suffering happens every day, everywhere, in many types and ways all around us. We do not always see it, but that does not mean it does not exist and when we see it exists, we begin to question ourselves. However, as I examine this question I see different ideas on meaning or the reason for suffering. Looking at the definition of the verb suffer, feel or undergo pain; sustain damage or loss; and see that suffering is something that can happen because of more than one action.
Both of the readings explained a different way of suffering. In their basics, both described mental suffering and but also described physical suffering as well. However, more deeply than that each reading contains a certain kind of suffering. The Epic of Gilgamesh describes that suffering is caused by death. The Book of Job describes how suffering is caused by sickness, loss of possessions, or loved ones. These readings give us meaning to suffering so that in the future, we can avoid suffering, and if we cannot avoid it, we can at least explain it.
The Epic of Gilgamesh tells us that suffering happens because of love. Gilgamesh suffered only because he loved Enkidu. After the serpent killed Enkidu, Gilgamesh suffered tremendously. This was an example mental suffering. Gilgamesh did not bring on Enkidu’s death. It was his desire for Enkidu to die, it just happened fighting the serpent. He deeply mourned his brother’s death. This drove him to find that special root to make him immortal. Although this was just a story, in its day it was thought to be a book of teachings.
Suffering was a direct result of death and love, but it was suffering that drove Gilgamesh by making him stronger. Suffering is not a good thing, but you do get past it and you can learn from it. This is also seen in The Book of Job. To Job, suffering happens because of God testing us. A Satan questioned the followings of God’s people. This led to God testing his best subject, Job. God made Job suffer in the worst way any man could. This would be physical suffering and mental suffering. When God took away Job’s family and possessions, he suffered mentally.
All of his possessions and loved ones were gone without a reason known to him. It was physical suffering when he was struck with sores all over his body. This also gives reason to suffering that happens when you cannot explain it. Even a person who thinks that they are perfect can suffer. You could be just like Job, almost a perfect worshiper. That would be even more the reason for you to be tested and a person reading this would believe that suffering is a test. It is a test of your faith, your faith in God and his loyalty is solidified when Job answers Yahweh, “I see how little I am.
I will not answer You. ” (40) Therefore, if we were suffering, as long as we keep faith, the suffering will end. The way of life, which is free from all worldly passion and suffering, can only be known through losing a loved one, someone who you were close too, can send you into a state of depression. A loved one is a person who was a part of you. When they go, you start to wonder when you will go. God could potentially test even his best followers. This would explain the unexplained suffering.