Thursday, January 26, 2012

Silence

I was reading in the book of Job the other day and caught something I had not previously noticed.  If you are unfamiliar, Job was a very good man and followed God.  Satan suggests that Job only follows God because God protects him, and God allows Satan to tempt Job by destroying everything he has.  Job loses all of his livestock and his ten children in the same day.  Later, he is afflicted by boils from head to toe.  In summary, his life sucks.  Friends hear of his distress and come to be with him.
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 2:11-13)
Frequently, when we are confronted with the grief of another, we want to say the right thing.  Would there be a right thing to say to a man covered in boils who just lost his ten children?  Is there some sentence that would work to resolve his pain?  The answer is no, and his friends sit with him for seven days and nights.  Without talking.

I need to remember this the next time I encounter someone suffering.  If there isn't anything to say, sitting there is just fine.

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