Scripture: Job 2:1-13
Key verse: Job 2:13 They sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.
Reflection: Job was a righteous man who endured horrible undeserved suffering. He lost his property, his children died, and he became sick and covered with painful sores. Job’s tale is a journey of trying to make sense out of what is inexplicable. Through much of the book of Job, his friends offer mistaken explanations and bad advice.
But before they opened their mouths with stupid rhetoric, Job’s friends did something wonderful. They tore their robes and threw dust on their heads as signs of sorrow and grief, and then they sat in silence with him for seven days. This was a wonderful sign of their care and love.
When we love someone who is suffering, we are tempted to open our mouths and talk. We find ourselves quoting silly platitudes, or offering bad advice, or searching for an explanation of the inexplicable. Our own anxiety drives us to jabber and to fill the silence with the sound of our voices. What if we learn from Job’s friends and just sit with someone in silence? The ministry of presence, just being there, can be a tremendous gift when someone is suffering. Words aren’t needed. Our presence is a sign of care and love.
Prayer: O God, when I face suffering I feel anxious. I don’t know what to do and sometimes I say stupid things. Help me to deal with my own fear so that I can be present with those who suffer. Give me the courage to be quiet. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder [Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].