This past summer I began a ministry through the book of Job. Job is the quintessential book on suffering. The majority of the book deals with the discussions between Job and his three friends. The initial compassion of Job’s friends is truly commendable. They first of all desire to be with Job. They secondly desire to enter into his sorrows and to mingle their tears with his. They thirdly determine to comfort Job. They desire that truth will be a blotter to Job’s tears. In these desires they do well. Where they derail is in their making dogmatic assertions without all the evidence. In dealing with this section my mind ran to some counsel I offered years ago to aiding others in dealing with grief. This was born out of being on the receiving end of those who sought to minister to me and my wife in the loss of a child. The counsel I gave then involved having swift feet to come to be in the presence of those who are grieving. Secondly to have long arms to embrace the one who is grieving. Thirdly to have busy hands to meet the practical needs of the one who is grieving. Fourthly to have bent knees to interceed for the one who is grieving. Fifthly to have large ears to listen to the one who is grieving. Finally to have a small and well guarded mouth to speak to the one who is grieving. The temptation to ‘explain’ what God is doing and to quickly end the pain of the suffering can cause us to derail as quickly as Job’s well intentioned friends did. May God help us to fulfill the true meaning of the body of Christ unto the end that when one member suffers all the members suffer with him.
August 7, 2011
Some counsel to aid those in grief