Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2009 – Day 230.Aug 19 – Without Asking

Passage of the Day: Job 2: 11 – 13 … 11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. 12 And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. 13 So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.

My Journal for Today: In restudying this passage the last couple of days, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to apologize to Job’s three friends. Because of what I’ve read on ahead and what they say to Job, trying to explain his horrible condition and misfortune, over the years I’ve come to label these men as “Job’s three stooges;” and now it has come to my attention, with the help of my devotional Pastor, Chuck Swindoll and a friend of mine, that these men may have had opinions which were very human and very fallible; but I need to apologize to their memory because these men were truly FRIENDS of and to Job.

Yesterday, when I posted my journal entry, a dear Sister in Christ, who follows my blog, pointed out to me that she was impacted by the fact that these three men showed great compassion and friendship to Job as they tore their robes, sprinkled dust on their heads (a sign of mourning in the day), and they sat quietly and lovingly with their friend, Job, for seven days. Those are not things a casual acquaintance or a social critic would do. No, those are things only a true friend would do.

Swindoll points out today that when someone is down, a real friend does not need an invitation to come and be there. No, they just come, identifying with the pain of their downed friend and showing sympathy and compassion. A true friend is not turned off because of the bad smells in a hospital room or the distasteful sight of their friend who’s lost a lot of weight and looks horrible. No, the friend sits with, prays with, and loves on their hurting loved one in spite of all that.

Are real friends perfect and say all the right things? Well these three friends of Job are evidence that this may not be the case; because as we’ll see, they ultimately said a lot of the wrong things. But they were the ones who were there for Job in the midst of his grief and unsightly physical pain. And they were the ones who stayed in there with Job. They were friends; and way down the road, through they were to give Job some pretty dicey advice, Job learned to love the misguided friends who were real friends. He learned to choose to love these FRIENDS; and Job learned to pray for them; and when Job did that (see Chapter 42 of Job), God restored all to Job, … physical health, family, and fortune.

I hope we all have friends who would be there when we go down into the valley of the shadow of death even if they don’t say all the right things. And the best way to cultivate friends like that is to reach out, go to, and sit with someone you choose to love enough to ignore their distasteful looks or smell and just to be there with them. You don’t have to say much. In fact, it’s probably best you don’t. Job’s friends would have been much better off just staying with and being with Job. But I hope we’ll all take a cue from the good things these three men did; and we go out from here and be a dear friend to someone who needs us.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray that you’ll make divine appointments for me to be a friend to someone in my life who might need me. Amen

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