In one day, Job’s world fell apart. He lost everything he held dear in life. Then, to make matters worse, he was struck with boils from head to toe.
As he sat in ashes and scraped his boils with a piece of pottery, his wife managed to add insult to injury. She said, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9 NKJV). Job really needed some encouragement.
Then we read that three friends came to visit him. And when they saw his miserable condition and how he was covered in boils, they were so stunned that they simply wept and sat with him for seven days without saying a word. That was the perfect thing to do in that instance.
The Bible tells us, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15 NKJV). Sometimes, that’s all we need to do.
We should avoid the easy answers and clichés when we’re seeking to comfort a suffering person. Sometimes, what we say to them can offend them because we didn’t think it through. We try to be helpful, but we can instead end up being hurtful.
We say things like “I know how you feel” when we really don’t, or “There’s a reason for everything” when the person we’re trying to comfort clearly can’t see one. And it certainly doesn’t help to point out that there’s always someone worse off when there are also a lot of people who are better off.
That doesn’t mean there’s no time for us to share Scripture or to pray with someone who’s hurting. But don’t come in with a fast answer. Just go with them through what they’re going through. Accompany them. Be a companion to them.
The Bible tells us, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NLT). When someone is suffering, sometimes the best thing that we can do for them is to simply be there for them.
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