“Job Comforter” is typically used to describe friendspeople that are anything BUT comforters!! The phrase is derived from the rants, raves and personal attacks on Job from his three friends and dominates much of the Book of Job. These type of “comforters” are known to offer pat answers to difficult questions, find fault(s) in the very one who is despairing, and frequently blame shift the difficulties onto the hurting one, or at best (worst), God. But there’s a requisite quality of those original friends that has diminished in our fast-paced world. Read what they did for a WEEK after Job was devastated by the loss of his ten children, all of his property and belongings, and even his health:
“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, they each one came from his own house…..and they made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and comfort him. And when they lifted up their eyes at a distance, and did not recognize him [he was covered with boils]they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe, and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky. Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights, with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.”
Job 2:11-13 NASB
They wept, the sat down with him for seven days AND nights, and no one said a word! Sometimes that’s all one needs. Job’s friends probably could have left after that week, and Job would have been better off, rather than be railed by their provoking questions, taunts and discourse. In our post-modern, texting and voice mail world, we would do well to just sit with a friend when things are tough…and be quiet. I long and pray to demonstrate this patient empathy, not only to ones I call ‘friends”, but to others needing quiet understanding…and real comfort.
“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares”
Henri J.M. Nouwen