It’s great to have friends, isn’t it? I’m not talking about Facebook friends. I mean real friends. People who understand what makes you tick or when to respect your privacy. As we get older, our pool of real friends diminishes. Perhaps you have two or three true friends if you’re lucky – and that’s okay!
We all know the story of Job. The suffering, the misery, and the turmoil is well-documented in the Bible. We also learn about his three friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar), who traveled great distances to comfort Job. At the beginning they were quite helpful. As a matter of fact, no one said a word for seven days and seven nights. “How is that helpful?” you might ask. Well, sometimes simply being there is enough support. And when we try to be creative and say the so-called “right thing,” the situation can get a bit awkward. Here are some examples of what Job’s friends said to him:
Eliphaz: “As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.”
Bildad: “When will you end these speeches? Be sensible, and then we can talk.”
Zophar: “If you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.”
Tough crowd, eh?
Initially the three friends wept and mourned with Job. That was true comfort. To be fair, we don’t always have the right words to say either. Sometimes we think what we’re saying is helpful, when, in fact, it does more harm than good. That’s not to imply that we should ignore the person in need. Paul instructs the Romans to “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). We can show our support with a hug, a pat on the shoulder, or by simply sitting next to him or her.
The bottom line is this: We all grieve in different ways. Some like to be alone for a period of time, while others prefer the company of friends and family. Neither is wrong. The phrase “less is more” refers to our words here, but not necessarily our presence. You can never go wrong by being there for one who mourns.
In His Name,