“But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief”
Though we hope to encourage people who are suffering from their pain, trials and hardships, we are often quick to judge them. Perhaps they deserve what they are going through right now, maybe they have sinned and they are suffering from the consequence of it, or maybe God is punishing them for all the wrong they have committed. But is this really the way we encourage the discouraged?
Job has been through a lot. But his friends who tried to comfort him end up discouraging him and make the matters worst for him. So in response he rebukes them and told them that if they would be in his place suffering the same things like him he can also criticize them and rebukes them of their “sins” but instead, if it were him, he would encourage them and would try to take away their grief (v.6).
What could have we done if we were Job’s friends during those times he had suffered? Job was suffering so much, his livelihood was crushed to the ground, his children was taken away from him and he is physically reduced to skin and bones because of the ailments given to him. Can we really feel and understand his pain? Can we even imagine what he is going through during those times?
As a friend, the only thing we can really do that is important for them is to listen. If we stop being so “know it all” by giving an opinion even when not needed but just listen as they try to speak out how they feel, perhaps we can have an idea what they are really going through that time. Just as Job tried to explain to them he felt God had allowed these things to happen to him (v.11) despite honestly believing that he had done no wrong to deserve all these sufferings (v.17).
But the great thing about Job is that he knows that even if his friends scorns him he can still cried out to God (v.20) and that he needed someone to speaks and plead for him to God just like someone who pleads to his friend (v.21). Job may have not realized it that time but he already have Jesus pleading for him all throughout the time he is suffering, mediating in his behalf. Whenever we are suffering, in pain hurting and discouraged from loss. We can take comfort that Jesus had never stopped mediating for us (Hebrews 7:25) that are prayers are being heard by God because our mediator is not only like a friend to Him but is actually His Son. When we understand this truth, then we can better encourage the discouraged by pointing them to Jesus.
Lord! Help me to be a better friend to the discouraged. Help me have the heart to listen to their sufferings and understand their pain. Let me point them to Jesus who intercedes for all of us, for all those who trust Him, forever. Amen