Another reading in Job and again the view of God is a ‘bit disturbing. Oh how patient God was…is!
But in today’s reading there was something that ministered to me, it actually reminded me of a memory in which I was ministered to and taught a valuable ministry lesson.
“I have heard many such things;
Sorry comforters are you all.
3 “Is there no limit to windy words?
Or what plagues you that you answer?
4 “I too could speak like you,
If I were in your place.
I could compose words against you
And shake my head at you.
5 “I could strengthen you with my mouth,
And the solace of my lips could lessen your pain.” Job 16:2-5
This ministered to me because Job makes a point we should all remember when speaking to or about others and their situation. It is always easy to be critical of the manager from the cheap seats.
Job says to his “friends” if I was pain free as you are. If i still had my family like you do. If I still had my possessions like you do, then I could talk with the confidence that you have…in other words, “hey y’all, you don’t understand my situation, so ’till you’ve been in my shoes you don’t realize how little your words help.”
He even sarcastically says or at least that is the tone I hear in my head,
“And the solace of my lips could lessen your pain.”
I hear it sarcastically because his “friends” think they are helping him out by speaking and giving him all this advice but really what might have been best is what they did at the very beginning, just sit in silence.
I learned this truth many years ago…
I got dumped by a girl in college, it caught me off guard and it truly laid waste to my heart. One Sabbath afternoon not to long after that I was with a bunch of my friends eating a Sabbath meal together, our mutual friends, my ex and I (she wasn’t there), and I was sick with sadness that she wasn’t there, so I slipped away into another room, I thought unseen. I sat down in this dark room on the edge of this bed, put my head in my hands and cried, sobbed really. Not too many minutes later my friend Evie came in the room. She sat down next to me on the edge of the bed, put her arms around me and I cried even harder into her shoulder. I would guess that at least 10 minutes maybe even 15 minutes went by before I really collected myself, when I did she gave me one last tight squeeze then got up and walked out of the room. From the moment she came in and sat down next to me ’till the moment she left 10-15 minutes not a single word was spoken, and that memory is what I remember as the most comforting and encouraging moment of that period of my life.
And from that moment I learned the ministry of silent presence.
Job’s friends are talking thinking they are helping, but they are not where he is at in that moment.
What would have really brought him comfort would have been silent presence.
Maybe today’s reading can be an important reminder to all of us that our words don’t always comfort, sometimes they injure.
Let us practice the ministry of silent presence.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Isaiah 40-44