ODJ: a friend in need

June 25, 2015 

READ: Job 2:1-13 

They sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words (v.13).

Some dear friends of mine lost their little boy, Raphael, to death after just 8 weeks of life. Although my heart broke for them and I longed to be a comfort, I had no idea how to ease their pain.

Job also faced incredible loss and grief and needed comfort. Though he feared God and had been blessed with children and possessions (Job 1:1-3), he was not immune to suffering.

Satan claimed that Job remained faithful to God only because the Lord was protecting him (1:9-10), and if he lost everything, Job would surely curse God (v.11). The Lord agreed to test his servant and sadly Job lost everything—including his children (vv.13-19).

Although Job was deep in grief, he continued to bless the Lord (vv.20-22). Then Satan inflicted Job with painful sores, causing his wife to say, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die” (2:9). Job rebuked her, however, and refused to say anything against God (v.10).

When three of Job’s friends heard of his suffering, they came to comfort him (v.11). Hardly recognising their hurting friend, they simply sat with him for seven days and nights—not saying a word to him. For they saw that his suffering was too great for words (vv.12-13).

Similarly, a colleague of mine whose wife passed away has a friend who came to his house and sat with him in silence during the months following the tragic loss. Initially the stillness felt awkward, but he soon grew to enjoy the moments of quiet comfort and companionship.

We often feel compelled to say or do something that will bring peace to a troubled soul, but sometimes the best thing we can do is sit still with others in God’s presence (Psalm 46:10).

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day-plan: Luke 5:1-39

Read Proverbs 17:17 and consider how you can best meet the needs of a grieving friend. 
What are the most meaningful things someone has said or done for you while you were grieving? Why is remaining silent sometimes the best course in helping a hurting friend?