Recently I saw a new angle in a verse from the book of Job.
I used to think that Job’s friends were not very empathetic and did not know how to relate to him and his tragedies. Now I see a new perspective. In the beginning of the story, Job’s friends actually sat with him for one week not saying anything.
“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was”. Job 2:13
Just being with him. Not giving advice… Not criticizing…They showed up.
We might ask, “Didn’t they know what to say?”
Perhaps they should have kept their mouths shut! Just being with someone in a crisis is a powerful healing tool. Maybe that’s what gave Job the capacity to actually listen to their human faulty words and to seek God and to feel and express himself even though he was self-righteous and defensive with his friends’ accusatory tendencies. In the long run, Job understands that God is good and that even though there is pain, the Lord is our redeemer and He is mighty and knows more than anyone or anything here on earth. And let’s face it, his friends were present. They showed up.
The joy and healing of connection
There is something to learn about our human interactions and about exposing ourselves to others. Yes, we can be hurt if we vulnerably expose ourselves to others, but if we don’t we may not experience the joy of human empathy, comfort and connection.
The power of being present
We can learn about comfort and how “just being with someone” can prove powerful and show commitment. Being present gives margin so mistakes are not always devastating to the relationship. Grace flows freely to the friend who shows they care…who keeps in touch and is present in times of need. We can forgive awkward moments and soak in the comfort the Holy Spirit brings to us through them…but only if they are present.
“When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise”.
In times of deep grief and pain there may be no words or few words… It’s OK if we don’t know what to say. Healing and comfort will come with:
I want to be a present friend – able to lend a listening ear, a comforting word and a shoulder for tears. I’m thankful for friends that tell me the truth even when it hurts and am thankful friendship’s treasure is present in my distress.
Are you longing for deeper more meaningful human connections?
Prayers for the bravery to walk deeply into the waters of friendship…-Madge