Every Saturday morning, I really try to get in some spiritual reading. I do not find a whole lot of time in my schedule to read, but I do believe it is important and schedule my life accordingly. I love lazy Saturday mornings when I get my coffee made (I am such a lazy person without it!), grab a book, and settle into my big fluffy chair. I do not claim to be a Bible expert, but would like to dedicate my Saturday posts to the things that I have learned from God's Word.
JOB AND COMPANY
Even though I have read the story of Job so many times before, I have never before thought of the story from the perspective of Job’s well-meaning friends. They came and sat with him for seven days and didn’t say a word. What a labor of love! I’m sure they had families and businesses, but they felt that Job was such a good friend that they would take a week off of life and help him. This part of the story encourages me to be a better friend and spend more time listening completely than I do giving my opinion!
After seven days, Job feels that his friends wouldn’t mind his “venting”; however, his friends took the opportunity to open their big mouths and finally give their opinion. Too bad I remembered too many times when I took the same opportunity!
Being a detail person, the thing that frustrates me the most about the chapters to follow is that most everything that his friends said was right. For example, in chapter 5:8, Eliphaz says, “I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause.” Eliphaz goes on to explain how God takes care of nature and how God will take care of us. That is true. . .but not exactly what Job needed to hear at that point. I suppose this bothers me because I find myself trying to say similar things when others “vent” to me!
I often get to the part after the friends are done talking and think to myself, “Then what am I supposed to say to people who are hurting?” Here are some things I have learned from this passage.
1. When someone is hurting, I am not necessarily to be a counselor, but I am definitely supposed to be a listener. Job’s friends, in my opinion, were very good counselors. . .very wise men; however, everything they said was like water on a duck’s back to Job. Nothing that they said gave any real encouragement to Job. I don’t ever see Job saying to his friends, “Wow. . .I never thought of it that way! That makes me feel so much better! I’m okay now!” Instead, he seems to become more morose and depressed as his friends gave more of their “advice.”
2. When someone is hurting, I must understand that the only person who can really help them is God. I don’t even need to tell the person that God can help them. For the most part, they already know. If they don’t know, maybe I haven’t been a good example and had better work on myself instead of them!
3. When someone is hurting, it is not my place to judge how long someone else is supposed to grieve. Whether it takes 2 weeks or 2 years is not my concern. My job is to be there as a good listener along the whole journey.
4. Everyone is hurting in some way. My job is to pray for them and listen to them.