I’ve been slowly reading and studying the book of JOB in the Bible, and pulling the possible lessons we can glean from Job’s friends, into the light. I’ve joked with others that lately, I feel like the female version of this man of God! So many trials and suffering…but my woes pale in comparison to what this “perfect” man endured.
He had wealth, land, cattle, a large family, good health, faithful servants; everything a man of his time could desire or need, and it was all snatched away in less than half a day. All he was left with was a wife who reputed him to “curse God and die!” What was Job’s reaction to all that befell him?
He worshipped GOD, despite his tremendous loss. He tore his clothes in grief, and covered himself in ashes as he mourned his losses, as was the way of his people.
When Job’s friends came to check on him, they initially did exactly as they should have. They wept with him, refrained from voicing useless platitudes, and sat with him in his misery, in silence for seven days. Their actions, at least in this moment, set a good example for us to emulate. No words in these times of grief can really soothe our wounded soul. Even when all we can do is sit in silence, because the suffering is too great for human words, the Lord is speaking His peace, comfort, and wisdom.
But sadly, they didn’t stay there in that helpful mode. As the author of the article below says: “Those first seven days were their golden hour. If they had stopped there they would have been heroes, I think, because they would have shown compassion and patience. And that’s what we should learn.” Yes, dear friend. THAT is what we SHOULD learn.
But in the subsequent chapters, Job’s friends do what we would call a “u-ey.” Their silent comfort and prayer turn into judgment and questioning of Job’s true relationship with GOD—they attack his character and wonder what in the world he did to cause this tragedy to befall him. What a shame! I want to be the kind of friend they initially were—compassionate, prayerful, allowing their friend to mourn the unimaginable loss he was enduring. And when the time is right, with God-led, prayer filled intentions, may we be the picture of true kinship, and be the balm of Gilead that soothes the weary soul.