February 17, 2015
READ: Job 2:11-13
They sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words (v.13).
A few months after his son’s tragic death, my friend told me that people who had been close were now avoiding him and his family. He said it was as if people no longer wanted to be around them. I asked him why he thought the poor comforters were acting this way. His answer troubled me, for I knew it was the hard truth: “When people don’t feel they can fix a situation, they try to pretend it’s not there. They feel embarrassed.”
We tend to condemn Job’s friends for their incorrect representation of God and Job’s situation. Indeed, it’s true that they got things woefully wrong. But at least they came! (Job 2:11). Not only did they show up, they wept with their friend (v.12)—just as we’re instructed to do in Romans 12:15. Later, knowing that they couldn’t fix the situation, they simply sat with Job instead of talking or walking away. What a comfort it is when a true friend simply sits with another in their pain, offers no counsel, but stays nonetheless.
Sadly, Job’s friends didn’t keep their mouths shut. They offered their human ‘wisdom’ and soon proved by their comments how little they understood. But, before that, they had been true friends of the highest order!
Before we condemn the poor comforters of Job, let’s reflect on this: God sent the men to Job and they were initially a comfort to him. And later, His rebuke of them was far from terminal! In fact, God allowed Job to minister to his friends even though they had unsuccessfully ministered to him (Job 42:7-9). He knew that they had wanted to help, but went about it in the wrong way.
Let’s choose to draw close to those who are grieving and hurting. Our help may not be perfect, but true friends will reach out. —Russell Fralick
365-day plan› Exodus 40:1-38
Read John 15:12-17 and consider how you can truly love and comfort a hurting person.
Are you available to comfort those who mourn, to weep with those who weep, even when you feel inadequate? How can you be a true friend this week to a person who needs one?