Scripture: (Job 2:11,13 NKJV)  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. . . 13So 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.

Observation: Job had lost everything he owned, but his worst tragedy was the loss of all his children.  When he became physically ill, his wife had had enough and told him to “curse God and die.”  But then we read that his friends came to be with him and to comfort him, and they sat with him for seven days straight, without saying a word, just being there.

Application: One of the most tragic results from the death of a child is the demise of the marriage.  Many couples simply can’t handle their pain and end up drifting apart and eventually separating and divorcing.  It is very difficult to offer support and encouragement to your spouse when your own heart is breaking.  At the same time, nothing can bring a couple together like experiencing a loss and growing together out of it.  My wife and I have gone through the loss of my mother and both her parents, and several other family members.  Those times, as difficult as they have been, have strengthened our relationship and are part of our history that keeps us together.
But there are times when we need help from outside too, and the tragic death of a loved one is a perfect time to offer or receive the comfort and encouragement of a dear, close friend.  One of the questions many people have in their minds when visiting someone who’s lost a loved one is, what should I say?  Job’s friends teach is a very important lesson: when visiting a grieving friend it is more important to just be there and listen than what you say.  After all, what can you possibly say that would take their pain away, or make their burden any easier?  But what is very therapeutic and very cathartic for them is to talk through their pain and what better person to do so but a close friend.  Someone said that “pain shared is pain divided,” which means that when we share our pain with others, we all get to carry it together, which makes it easier and lighter for the one experiencing it.  That’s why being there for the mourner is your gift to them, the ministry of presence.  Don’t be afraid to be with those in mourning; it may be the best, most kind, and most loving thing you can do for your friend or loved one.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, in the midst of our pain, you listen to us and come close to us to comfort us.  Thank You for the healing You bring us through our pain.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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