The Biblical story of Job has brought me great comfort and encouragement over the years. Tom and I have felt like Job—getting hit with one crisis after another. There’ve been times we felt like giving up, but we hung in there.
I love Job’s friends.
When Job's three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. Job 2:11-13 (NIV)
No one said a word. I love that. In fact, no one spoke for seven days, and then the friends let Job speak first.
I know that people want to fix things. They speak out of love, desperation, frustration, or their own pain. But, seriously, we ought to learn to keep our mouth shut now and again. People say the darndest things!
The hurricane that ripped our world apart was swirling and churning around us. Every day brought a new and terrible challenge. “Friends” said, “it’s your fault for working in the theatre”, “you didn’t spend enough time with us”, “you should have listened to us”, or “that’s what you get for changing churches”.
One long-time friend made a particularly hurtful comment. She said, “Look, Dallas made his choice when he was a little boy. You need to just give up on him.” Does Jesus give up on us? Would Jesus throw hot coals of discouragement on open wounds?
Some people feel they need to say something super spiritual to friends in crisis. They say, “God is in control”, or “you just need to trust God.” While I accept the truth of those words, there are times when the pain is unquenchable and we just need someone to sit quietly with us.
Do you know someone in the middle of a battle, a storm, or is suffering unbearable pain? Go to them. Sit quietly. Love them!