You have probably heard the phrase – “You’re a right Job’s Comforter -you are!” (N.B. carries more weight with a Northern Accent.) This is quite obviously a “bad thing to be”. However, I sort of feel sorry for them – a bit – sometimes. The reason being that they remind me of me and, in line with my policy of always being fair to me, I am prepared to give them some slack.
Be honest, if you were one of Job’s mates, how would you have reacted? This was a man who had always done things the right way. He had it sorted. Yet when disaster upon disaster began to fall, it did so at breakneck speed. In fact, things happened so fast that disasters happened while the survivor of the earlier one was still telling Job about it. Oxen, donkeys, sheep, shepherds, camels and finally children – all snatched away in separate disasters with only a sole survivor left to report back the carnage each time. (I don’t think that this was the same person, otherwise he would be getting a bit of a complex about being a bit of a Jonah.) Be honest – how bewildered would you be? And wouldn’t you wonder, just a leeeetle bit, what Job had done to have brought this on himself. (I said – be honest!)
So his mates turn up to sit with him and they are genuinely devastated for him. They tear their clothes in grief and share his suffering. Then, they decide to try and “help”. They decide to give advice.
I am not sure what would have prompted this change of approach. They could have become a bit nervous about Job’s full frontal attack on God. They could have been trying the old “a word in season…” or they could have been so sick of Job’s complaining that they thought that it was time to – you know – jolly things up a bit.
Have a look at what they say. There’s very little wrong with it. It’s really the timing and probably the motivation that’s wrong.
So, what a blessing when God steps in and corrects you!
Mind you, don’t despise the discipline of Almighty God!
Yep – thanks for that. Try not to trip over the corpses of every animal I have ever owned on your way out.
But you can be sure of this,
you haven’t gotten half of what you deserve.
Good Grief – really?
You may be much wiser than me but I have tried to talk people out of their pain. Tried to find a God-based reason for the unfathomable. I have just talked twaddle. A Christian counsellor told me once that he saw someone for several months and during their time together – all they would do was sit in silence. She wanted someone to grieve with her. And he did.
God comes in at the end of Job and proves that he is quite capable of telling Job a few home truths himself actually – without their assistance. They didn’t need to try so hard to appear wise under such a barrage of suffering. What Job needed was “I have no idea mate; have a tissue and we will sit and cry together for a bit.” There is friendship, forged in suffering, honesty and waiting on God. It’s not about the person doing the comforting but those needing comforting. It’s about rubbing someone’s back and zipping it, as it probably never says in Job