Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Friendships~ Lessons from Job

As I have been in Job for about a month I am in the middle of the conversation between Job and his friends.  As I mentioned in the previous post, they heard about Job's trouble then came to comfort him.  They couldn't recognize him when they arrived because his body was so badly covered in boils.  But they cared enough to stay and sat with him in silence for 7 days.

7 days sounds like a really long time to just sit. I can't wrap my mind around them actually sitting in silence and not getting up for anything.  Which gives me the impression that they really cared about Job.  They really wanted to be there for him in his time of trouble.  If I think of the mourning process, which I would equate Job's situation to, I would want friends there who would not try to make me feel any certain way or give me any answers or ask any questions.  They seem to be dedicated friends.

Chapter 4 begins and we see his friends begin to talk... maybe question. "Hey Job, is everything ok between you and God?" or "Job, have you considered the idea of having done something that God may see the need to discipline you or test you?" It goes back and forth, on and on. Job defending and at some points honestly sounds quite self righteous.  But he is sure he did nothing that should deserve such punishment or disapproval from God. His statements actually cause his friends to get more and more bold. Calling him out in what his offense was before a Mighty God, Creator of the universe.  No one can be perfect, trying to help Job see this so that he would repent and God would restore him.

It actually makes sense to me.  If I put myself in the same situation as any one of Job's three friends, I would be thinking the exact thing they are thinking.  I have done it.  There are few that I have done this to. Reminded them of the character of God and the fallenness of man. It sounds a lot like holding a person accountable or standing up for truth. I am puzzled why this questioning is seen in a negative light.  I *think* I would want friends to do the same for me... actually, it has happened to me and great freedom came from it.

Maybe it is because it just isn't tactful to question someone so deeply when they have lost so much so quickly.  But after sitting silent for 7 days I would think that caused Job to realize that they deeply cared.  Mourning isn't a quick process, so I feel the depth of Job's questioning God also. 

I'm thinking on grace and when to know the right thing to say.  Or when the right thing to say is at the wrong time.  The right thing said at the wrong time can be wrong.

I already know that at the end God will rebuke these three friends, but I am looking forward to possibly seeing why they were wrong on calling him out, to evaluate himself.  To search his own heart and see if there is any wicked way in him.

My biggest question that remains unanswered is why is it wrong for Jobs friends to question him?
A lack of grace?
Unkind and hurtful because it is so close to the loss?
Or is questioning Job's character truly the problem with his friends?
I hope to find the answer to that as I finish up the second half of the book.

But for now, these

ideas cause me to evaluate the kind of friend I am.  Do I deeply love and fight for those I say that I love.  Do I seek to keep the peace in all relationships.  I want to be a sister-friend who women can feel safe with and run to when they need someone to hold up their arms in battle or sit in silence in a time of mourning.  My prayer is that Jesus would put these qualities in me.

That I would love like He loves.