Sunday, January 09, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Job 16:1-2

Then Job answered: 
"I have heard all this before.
What miserable comforters you are."
Job 16:1-2
 
Half of the Book of Job is the ramblings of Job's miserable friends.
 
"Miserable comfort" is Job's diagnosis of their misguided words and worldly wisdom.
 
But do you know what? At least these three friends get credit for showing up!
 
When a friend is hurting, how many of us say, "I don't know what to say"? Afraid of being miserable comforters, how many of us have ever stayed away.
 
Generally speaking, when a friend is hurting, the most miserable thing we can do is abandon them.The second most miserable thing we can do is ramble on like Job's friends with misguided words and human wisdom. If that's happened, God forgives you; now move forward. What do we do next time?!
 
Christian caregiving is NOT about wise words and what we say. Have you ever heard the statement, "Don't just stand there, do something!"? Well, Christian caregiving is just the opposite: "Don't just do something, stand there!!!"
 
Stand there! Be present! If they ask you something, and you don't know the answer, say, "I don't know the answer to that. But what I do know is that I care about you and God cares about you."
 
The Book of Job would have been much shorter if Job's friends said just that. Human wisdom just frustrated him and slowed down the healing. Don't just do something, stand there ... and remind them that you care and God cares.
 
In Christ's Love,
a doer
who had to be taught
to listen
----------------------------
Amen.

Just presence is often enough. sitting in the same room. I have a friend who used to call and ask if I wanted to tag along on trips to the grocery store, to run errands ... mundane daily activities, but it was just the act of being there.  I have another friend who we can sit in the same room. both work on individual projects. not talking. and there is comfort in just being there. too often the 'helpful' chatter is just annoying noise.

Also - it is often better to just be there. Don't call and ask if you can visit. Show up. I know that if someone calls, it is much easier to say no and stay in my puddle of misery. If they are there, it is much harder to refuse.

You don't need to fix a hurting friend. You don't need to offer advise. You just need to be there. Notes, emails, sitting in the same room.

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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