“Now when Job’s three friends…heard about all this adversity that had happened to him, each of them came from his home. They met together to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.” Job 2:11
In the beginning of this book it is written that Job was made the focus of Satan’s adversity. As the result, Job’s livestock and servants were all taken or destroyed. His children were all killed in a horrible accident. And Job was afflicted with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. He was very truly suffering and left to sit amongst the ashes scraping himself with a discarded shard of pottery.
All that seemed to be left for him were the four servants who escaped death to be bearers of bad news, and a wife who seemed to prove why Satan didn’t bother with her. He had three friends, though, who came when they heard about all he’d been through. They came to sympathize and comfort him. When they saw him, they openly showed their grief, their sorrow for him. They even had the compassion to sit with him in silence for seven days and nights.
Can you imagine you and three friends sitting together in silence? Not a word was spoken for seven days and nights because they saw that Job’s pain was very great. However, after the silence was broken they weren’t quite as sympathetic or comforting. In their search for why bad things happen to people, they judged him, gave him bad advice, and encouraged him until he was thoroughly discouraged.
I have often longed for words to express comfort or understanding; at times I have even endeavored to sound wise. I want to bring people hope when they are down. I’ve attended people of all ages in the midst of illness, injury, death, loss, betrayal, disappointments, and pain. I’ve always wanted to give them something profound that may change their pain, but my words fall flat, ring in deaf ears, are senseless, go the wrong direction, or simply remain unsaid.
This week has been busier than most. I’ve been ministering to individuals who are going through pain and difficulty in this moment of their lives. I have been working hard to go to God in prayer immediately. I’ve observed that constant prayer in the Spirit alleviates my propensity for doing and saying too much in these circumstances. I try to let the apostle Paul be my teacher:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
A calm, balanced spirit tames the wayward tongue, and I have learned the power of the hug. There is power in just holding someone while they hurt, while they grieve, while they cry. I am also known to weep with them. Sometimes that’s all we really can do; that’s all they really want. When I’m ministering to others, my soul longs to connect with them in prayer and a warm embrace, and I have found that there just isn’t a need for words in many of these circumstances. When there are words spoken, if they are profound in any way, they aren’t mine. They most certainly belong to the Holy Spirit. My words are still just as petty and needless as ever. God is good and His love is great all the time.
Abba, You are the mighty Creator God. You are all-knowing, all-seeing, and everywhere. You know. You just know. Please help me to bring Your peace during storms when I am ministering to others. Help me minister in sympathy with comfort and compassion for them. May I keep You always before me. May I remain forgettable, but not the truths of Your greatness and love when I share them with those in need. Thank You for your grace and your mercies for each and every one of us. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit I pray. Amen.