Many of us know the challenges Job had to go through. In three brief moments Job lost nearly everything he had: his livestock, his property and his children.
It's then we have three new characters enter the story. Job's friends. Now, these friends get a lot of grief as you read on in Job, but I believe they provide us with a crucial lesson many of us would do well to follow.
“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.” – Job 2:11
When Job's friends heard of the catastrophe that had occurred, they immediately came to comfort him in this difficult time. As the narrative continues, Job's friends grieve with him.
“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 2:13
So often in our culture, we are quick to throw out "feel good" statements. We may tell the person to “perk up, it could be worse,” or we send our thoughts and prayers via text or social media, or we might not say anything at all.
But I love what Job's friends did here. They quickly came to his side and just sat in the hurt … in the pain of the moment. They sympathized with his hurt. They grieved with and for him. They eventually did give some misaligned advice to Job, but before then, they mourned with him and sat by his side.
During some tough moments in my life, I still remember the friends who did this. Who sat with me, who grieved with me, who sympathized with me.
They didn't ask how I was doing, because they already knew that answer. This is something I hope to provide to those close to me who hurt, and I hope we can all challenge ourselves to do this as well.
It is in the quiet and the peace, when we sit beside God, where healing can begin.
Written by Tim Miller, associate director of visual media for Buckner International.