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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Saturday, June 25, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
Upon learning of Job’s difficulties, three of his friends came to sympathize with him and comfort him. Later we learn that their words of comfort were not helpful—but at least they came. While God rebuiked them for what they said, he did not rebuke them for what they did—making the effort to come to someone who was in need. Unfortunately, when they came, they did a poor job of comforint Job because they were proud of their own advice and insensitive to Job’s needs. When someone is in need, go to that person, but be sensitive about how you comfort him or her.
Why did the friends arriv and then just sit wquietly? According to Jewish tradition, peole who come to comfort someone in mourning should not speak until the mourner speaks. Often the best response to another person’s suffering is silence. Job’s friends realized that his pain was too deep to be healed with mere words, so they said nothing. (If only they had continued to sit quietly!) Often, we feel we must say something spiritual and insightful to a hurting friend. Perhaps what he or she needs most is just our presence, showing that we care. Pat answers and trite quotations say much less then empathetic silence and loving companionship. (NLT)
Job 2:11-13 – Three of Job’s friends were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. When they heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled form their homes to comfort andf console him. When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to demonstrate their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him sor seven days and nights. And no one said a word, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.
Those who withhold kindness from a friend forsake the fear of the Almighty. – Job 6:14 (NRSV)
Geraldine Nicholas’ (Alberta, Canada) story is titled “FRIENDSHIP;” here is a portion of Geraldine’s story:
“When Job was suffering, three friends came to comfort him. . . . But if we keep reading, we discover these friends eventually became tormentors. After Job broke his silence, his friends began to speak harshly to him. That was when their friendship turned into a burden for Job.
“. . . God calls us to be good friends to those who are hurting. When someone is suffering, we can listen and trust that our silent presence may be enough.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – How can I be present with someone who is suffering?
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your friendship. Help me to be a friend to those who are suffering. Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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