Don’t you just love it when someone starts a conversation with you by saying, “Can I say something to you without you getting mad?” You know it’s going to be one of those conversations.
That’s how Eliphaz, one of three friends that came to visit Job, began his discourse. That’s just how I would want a friend to start things off when I’m in agony.
Then he goes on to say that people reap what they sow, the implication being that Job must have done something to deserve what he’s going through. Chapter 5, verse 6 says, “Evil does not grow in the soil,
nor does trouble grow out of the ground. No indeed! We bring trouble on ourselves, as surely as sparks fly up from a fire.”
Now remember, the only thing Job has done to deserve what’s happening to him is to have lived a blameless life. Imagine what he must be thinking right about now as his well-meaning friend is speaking. Job was a better man than I, so maybe I can’t really put myself in his place. But my guess is that he wasn’t smiling in agreement with Eliphaz.
Then Eliphaz continues by saying how happy Job should be, since God is correcting him. And he concludes by saying that he and his friends are speaking from having studied these things for a long time, and that Job ought to just accept it.
Well there you go. So much for flowers and a get well card. It’s amazing how hurtful some people can be when someone they know suffers some sort of calamity. Listen. When a friend of yours is hurting or sick or has suffered some sort of loss, don’t try to make this a teaching moment. The best thing you can do is just be with them. Sit with them. Pray with and for them. Bring them a meal. Love them.
When my son, Steven was so sick a couple of years ago, the people we appreciated the most were those who demonstrated love to us and him with their time and with meals and even financial assistance. They knew that all our time and emotional energy was invested in caring for our boy. That kind of friend is like a breath of fresh air. They help bring healing and a ray of sunshine to a dark place.
Be that kind of friend. Don’t be an Eliphaz.