Sometimes we need a friend to talk to and listen to us. Sometimes we need to listen for godly wisdom from our friends. And sometimes we just need silence.
First and foremost, I love how Job's friends respond to the tragedies in his life.
"Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each on came from his own place." -Job 2:11a
Now, in the days before social media and cell phones, people were not nearly as "connected" as we are today. But, Job's friends knew he needed them, and they came. Sometimes, even in our overly-connected society today, we need friends to show up. Don't call, don't worry about whether or not it's the perfect timing, just show up...bringing ice cream is always a good idea, too.
In verse 12 we see that Job is so disfigured by boils and grief, that his friends do not even recognize him at first, but when they did, they immediately wept.
"And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven."
They not only wept, they grieved for Job and his unimaginable losses. But what they did next is what we often overlook in friendship. They didn't give him advice, tell him to seek God's wisdom, tell him to curse God. They were silent. They were silent for seven days and seven nights and did not leave his side.
Now, I don't know about you, but I usually can't be silent for 7 minutes, much less 7 days (those of you who knew me as a child are nodding right now). Job clearly has some remarkable friends. I also have remarkable friends (although I am not sure any of them could be silent for 7 days and 7 nights, either).
One of the best ways to be a good friend is to just show up. Job's friends did just that. Any of my friends that are reading this-showing up with treats is always a good idea as well....