Hello again my sweet friends! Welcome back to my blog. As always, I’m not sure what brought you to my page, but I’m glad you’re here and I hope you feel inspired by what I wrote for you today. For the past month or so, I’ve been reading the book of Job in the Bible and I’ve felt God place a word on my heart. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think about friendships. As I finished Job, I have learned a little bit about friendship and the friends that we should all be to one another especially in times of hardship.
First, let me give you a little background on the book of Job in case you haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Job is a man of God. In the beginning of Job, the author paints a picture of God having a council meeting in the Heavens and Satan, the accuser, is there as well. God tells him of Job and how “there is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil,” (Job 1:8). Satan responds by basically saying that Job is righteous, and he is only loyal to God because God rewards the righteous with good. He challenges God by saying that if God allows Job to suffer, that things would be different. So, God allows the accuser to test Job. Job loses his children, his farm animals, servants, and is even “afflicted with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head,” (Job 2:7). Things quickly spiraled downward for Job and he was feeling as I imagine any of us would feel if these things happened to us. He has three friends that come to him and mourn with him. It’s during the mourning that Job begins having a discussion with his friends. He is questioning to them why God is putting him through all of this suffering. They have a back and forth discussion throughout the book through which each friend offers their own take on why Job is going through this time of suffering. Then comes in a knowledgeable friend that basically tells Job “hey look we know that God is just, I don’t know why you’re suffering, but suffering could be either a warning to avoid future sin or because it builds character. Either way you shouldn’t be questioning God.” What a wise friend. In the end, God speaks to Job and while he doesn’t give Job an answer for his suffering, he does give comfort. He responds to Job’s accusations about God not knowing how to run the world and basically asks if Job would like to take God’s spot for a day since he knows so much. (Talk about putting Job in his place). God ends by saying that while he created a beautiful world, that the world is not designed to prevent suffering. God then rewards Job, not so much for being right, but for going about the way he suffered in an honest way. He brought his honest thoughts and feelings to God and sought God throughout his suffering. The big summary of the book is an invitation to trust God and His wisdom enough to bring us through our suffering.
Now, you may ask how is this book gonna give us advice about friendship. Well, from this book I learned 3 characteristics that I should bring to a friendship and that I should look for in my friendships. Let’s begin!
Be a friend that will weep and mourn with friends during their sufferings and trials in life.
When everything first happened to Job, his three best friends wept and mourned right by his side. The Bible says that when they heard about what happened to Job “they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him” (Job 2:11). It even says that whenever they saw Job that they could hardly recognize him and “they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads (Job 2:12). They sat with Job for SEVEN days and nights. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve had a rough day it’s nice to know that I can count on my friends to be there to comfort me.
Be a friend that will sit and wait with someone for as long as it takes to talk about what is troubling them.
While mourning and weeping with Job for seven days and nights, the Bible says that none of the friends said a word to Job because “they saw how great his suffering was” (Job 2:13). Sometimes when we’re struggling with something, whether its sin or a suffering, our friends around can tell what were struggling with. Sometimes we’re not exactly ready to talk about it, it’s nice to know that the friend is there and is ready to listen when we’re ready to talk.
Also be a friend that is going to offer wise advice.
Just another reason why we need to seek wisdom from God daily. Needless to say, Job’s three friends prior to Elihu didn’t necessarily seek God’s wisdom before they responded to him. The consequences of that were that Job wasn’t anymore comforted or relieved by speaking with them than he was before. Then in comes Elihu. He waited patiently while Job listed his arguments and responded only when Job had nothing left to say. He basically says, “Look, I’ve sat here and listened to your arguments and your friends’ responses. They were no good. Now please, give me a chance to speak. What I have to say has been thought out and I am speaking honestly from my heart. We’re both human and made from the same clay. Let’s work through this together.” (Job 32-33). Elihu goes on by repeating Job’s argument and by offering some wisdom and truth to Job. Saying what we think our friends want to hear isn’t always what they need to hear. Be an honest friend, speak what’s on your heart. Speaking the truth isn’t always easy, but if you’re willing to say it and help the other person work through a tough season, spiritual growth can happen.
I’m praying that after reading Job I can be a better consoler and counselor to those close to me. I’m also praying that for all of you! As always, I hope this blog has encouraged you in some way today. Until next time, God bless!
Always with Love,