It happened overnight. Job’s life was stripped away – his cattle, servants, and even his children were destroyed. Next he was physically stricken with boils that covered his body. While Job’s first reaction was one of trust in God, his wife didn’t share his faith. “Curse God and die!” she exclaimed. Those were the only words we hear from Job’s life partner. He had no support on the home front – where he needed it the most.
Then there were Job’s “friends.” When they first appear at the end of chapter two, they just show up and don’t say a word – for seven days. They knew their friend had suffered and they had no words of consolation as Job lay on the ground covered in sores. They understood the ministry of presence and wanted to be there to comfort their friend during his time of despair.
Unfortunately, Job’s friends didn’t stay silent for long. In fact, for the next 29 chapters Job engaged in a discourse with his three friends who initially sought to comfort him. Now they wanted answers. Job’s friends insisted that Job divulge what he did to usher in his calamity. They continued to badger him to confess his sin – and they didn’t let up. The discussion continued relentlessly until a stranger spoke up and added his two cents.
Despite this being Job’s greatest time of need for compassion, his wife and friends instead tormented him with unwanted questions and advice. Even though God was with Job, he had no human companion to walk with him through it.
During these uncertain times, we need people who love, support, and encourage us – true friends who have our best interests at heart. Do you have people like this in your life? Are you that person for others? A phone call, letter, text, or conversation online is a simple act of kindness to show you care.
“Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow…” (Job 6:14-15 NIV)