"How frail is humanity! How short is life, and how full of trouble!
Like a flower, we blossom for a moment and then wither. Like the shadow of a passing cloud, we quickly disappear.
Must you keep an eye on such a frail creature and demand an accounting from me?
Who can create purity in one born impure? No one!
You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.
So give us a little rest, won't you? Turn away your angry stare. We are like hired hands, so let us finish the task you have given us.
"If a tree is cut down, there is hope that it will sprout again and grow new branches.
Though its roots have grown old in the earth and its stump decays,
at the scent of water it may bud and sprout again like a new seedling.
"But when people die, they lose all strength. They breathe their last, and then where are they?
As water evaporates from a lake and as a river disappears in drought,
people lie down and do not rise again. Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up nor be roused from their sleep.
"I wish you would hide me with the dead and forget me there until your anger has passed. But mark your calendar to think of me again!
If mortals die, can they live again? This thought would give me hope, and through my struggle I would eagerly wait for release.
You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.
For then you would count my steps, instead of watching for my sins.
My sins would be sealed in a pouch, and you would cover over my iniquity.
"But as mountains fall and crumble and as rocks fall from a cliff,
as water wears away the stones and floods wash away the soil, so you destroy people's hope.
You always overpower them, and then they pass from the scene. You disfigure them in death and send them away.
They never know if their sons grow up in honor or sink to insignificance.
They are absorbed in their own pain and grief."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)