With "Friends" Like These...

For seven days & nights, Job's friends sat with their dear friend - saying nothing, just being there for him. Ahhh...if only they would've stayed like that...

Proverbs 25:11 - "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances."
- This is NOT what Job was going to experience!!

Eliphaz was the first to speak up - Job sat before him stripped of everything, his heart torn and exposed, his words desperate, and his friend could only offer him an explanation of basically "you reap what you sow." If Job lost his wealth, possessions, and children (can we relate?), surely it was because of something he had done. But this is NOT what we need to hear when we're needing comfort after losing a child. There is NOTHING that we did to cause us to miscarry. The insensitivity of Job's friend, Eliphaz, is that of someone who has never know the level of brokenness that Job was in.

His next friend, Bildad, went so far as to inquire "How long will you continue with this?" Really? How many of us who have lost a child have been questioned as to how long we're going to grieve. There is no time period that we can follow. Six years after the fact I found myself grieving unexpectedly! Grieving is perfectly natural and our right as parents.

The third friend, Zophar, does no better. All three of these friends come to Job and sit in judgment of him, trying to explain the tragedy Job has experienced. Warren Wiersbe makes the following statement in Be Patient - "How sad it is when people who should share ministry end up creating misery...How tragic that these three friends focused on job's words instead of the feelings behind those words. A Chinese proverb says, Though conversing face to face, their hearts have a thousand miles between them.' How true that was at Job's ash heap."

When we are grieving, the last thing we need is rebuke and condemnation. I didn't need to be told that I may have "overdone" it while caring for my first-born and perhaps had caused my 2nd and 3rd miscarriages. What I needed was reassuring comfort and genuine sympathy - grace!

"Lord, if you are teaching us anything through Job's endurance, teach us the value of grace. Teach us about demonstrating grace. Show us again that grace is always appropriate. Always needed."

Mike Mason - The Gospel According To Job