Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.
I sat across the table and listened to her… shadows filled her bright blue eyes and the pain travelled across her face as she quietly shared her heart. My friend was in crisis and there was not a lot she could do about it. Her troubles were brought by someone else. She determined to just shoulder it and move forward.
My heart felt that sick sudden pressure when someone you love is drowning in sorrow. Tears sprang to my own eyes and I quickly pushed them away. No time to get weepy on her now. She needed strength. She deserved it. She had been so strong for so long carrying this burden.
I had no words for her. Just empathy. Just concern and maybe some anger. I want so much more for her than this.
So I listened. I didn’t rush in and offer solutions. I did not quote elegant scripture to remind that this will pass or be used by God for His purpose (Romans 8:28). As men and women of faith, we don’t always have to state the obvious that God is in the midst. He loves my friend more than I do. She belongs to Him.
So I heard her. I prayed for her… and after a time I tried even to make her laugh. Just for a moment – a release valve found in a moment of brevity. The moment passed and we hugged and moved on. I told her I loved her. I am checking in on her every now and again so she knows someone trustworthy is in her corner.
Our God is a good God. He is a big God. He does allow tough times – as I have lived long enough to know when something needs broken – He will break it. Then in some preternatural way He will come along with a clean wind and blow into us a fresh perspective. Then He will begin to recreate…and the old can become new. He does that; He always has even from the beginning. It is good and we re-learn the lesson that we already know – that as we are created from dust to life, God can do all things and supply all our needs through His Son, Christ Jesus.
In the meantime, I will listen if she wants to talk or just share in her eloquent silence. I will hug her or not. I will laugh with her on purpose and we will pray…a lot. To share in her suffering is my privilege…and we will wait on God together.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1