Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.
And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great. Job 3:11-13
I think often about Jobs comforters who have been notorious examples of what not to do when trying to help one through a terrible grief and heartache. Yet these friends had every good intention in their heart when they came. They sat with him for seven days, saying nothing. That is commitment. But what happened? I believe the answer is very important to us in so manyways.
My first thought is that it was not their pain. They could see his grief was very great, but they had no idea how it felt. And so in their minds seven days should have been sufficient to see a shift in his grief and a “beginning to put it behind him.” But instead, something completely different happens. Sitting with him those seven days had not diminished his grief at all as we see when Job finally speaks:
After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. And Job spake, and said, Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months. Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein…[read more]
It was after Job spoke, that his friends began to speak and to upbraid him for not handling his trial better and eventually accusing him of sinning and bringing it all upon himself. What happened? Where did that first initial care and concern go?
Job said, “To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.” Job 6:14
I believe they became weary of his trial. They wanted to speed it along. They did not want to sit any longer with him in this misery. They forsook the fear of God- the fear that they themselves could at any point be in this same position, that “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.”
I see this as a very human tendency in all walks of life. That is where phrases such as “misery loves company” and philosophies such as “its all your attitude” have been born- born of ones who had not the patience to allow the work of true healing of a broken heart.
When the Good Samaritan took the one who was beaten to an inn, he told them, “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” He knew that injured man was not going to heal overnight.
How many broken hearts are unhealed because of the impatience of others. And even, as in the case of Job, are broken further by thoughtless advice. Why is that? The sacrificial love that Christ showed must be born by the strong and those that are able. It means that we must suffer– we must get out of our comfortable lives and suffer with the suffering. Not many are willing to do that. The Bible tells us that Christ was touched with our infirmities. He felt them. That is why he came, so he could be a compassionate intercessor. He had to feel the affliction- and it did not feel good. He was willing to suffer.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matt. 25:34-40
We all pray for a revival. But how earnestly do we want to see the world saved? Christ wanted it badly- so badly, he had not where to lay his head. So badly, he was willing to be beaten, mocked, and crucified. So badly, he commanded us “go out quickly into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in…” [Luke 14:23]
Sacrificial love. True warmth and affection. Revival. All beautiful words that ring sunshine into the soul. But do you know these things begin in the wilderness of temptation and end in a crucifixion?
Are we willing to find the thirsty, and give them a drink? To notice the hungry and share our bread? To not know somebody very well, yet take them in and care for them? Do we clothe the naked? or like Noah’s son Ham, are we just going to exploit them to others? There are a lot of sick people, heart sick, spiritually sick and physically sick, that need someone to visit them, and many are imprisoned with chains from years of sin. Are we going to go to them?
We sing, “We need eachother brethren, for only love will carry us through…Lord give us true warmth and affection, when one fails help us rescue his soul, he’s not heavy for he is my brother, let us cry as we carry his load.”
We need to pray for more true warmth and affection, more sacrificial love, more longsuffering. I believe as we do and as we being to rise and see the harvest- the poor, maimed, blind and halt, and put our shoulder to the plow, not looking back, a revival will come speedily and powerfully, and “The Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings.”
These are thoughts that God has put on my heart in the midst of my own very grievous battles. They are challenging me so I thought I would share them.