Seven days and seven nights of silence. Complete silence. No words. Did they clear their throats, cough, weep, hug each other? Silence.
Job's predicament was so complicated, so mournful, so offensive there were no words adequate enough to console their friend. Job's friends remained silent.
I find this to be sage advice when a close, very close friend is confronted with something I have not experienced up close and personal. When I had my miscarriages, lost my babies, she called me and simply sat on the other end of the phone for what seemed like an eternity. I didn't hang up or say a word. I sat and wept. She sat on the other end of the phone miles away as hot, silent tears streamed down her face. "I have no words," she whispered in a hoarse broken voice. Her silence spoke more than any words she had ever spoken to me. Volumes of love lived in the silence. Such deep compassion and caring were present that day.
I believe Job's friends sat in compassionate silence comforting their friend. I don't think it was awkward or long. I think it's just what one does for friends you love like a sister...or a brother, in this case.
Now I like some of what Job's friends had to say. Some of my favorite verses are found here. "Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help." Job 11:18-19
A question I'd like the answer to as I read Job lies in the why. What motivated his friends to speak? As I seek the motivation to their hearts, I get hopeful...
And I think I already have an idea.
As I continue to read Job I am going to try reading it as if his friends are speaking with a tone of love. As words from friends who loved Job so much they were willing to sit with him in silence for seven days and seven nights. Words spoken from the mouths of friends who loved Job so much they longed to give him a reason, an answer, a solution to end his suffering because that's what people who love us do. They long for our hard times to get easier. They pray for cursing to turn to blessing, weeping to turn to laughter and mourning to turn to dancing. They beg us to examine our lives for sin and its consequences. They point our heart to the Lord when agony and bitterness threaten to take up residence. They love us so deeply that we listen to their words without anger even when the words are not exactly what we want to hear. We listen because we can feel the love.
I'm going to read with a tone of love because sometime after that day of silence my friend spoke again. She spoke to me and I'm sure I was still grieving when we spoke. I can't remember exactly what she said but she pointed me to God and his infinite love for me. I know she reminded me of his promises and his beautiful and good plan for my life. I'm sure that I knew that already even if it wasn't just what was on my mind that day. I'm sure that I probably didn't feel like being reminded of it at that point. But I listened. So I will read with love in mind.
And because after many years and many words she remains one of my closest friends...I read all the while thinking of love.
And now I am on.my.way to the KSBJ Girls' Day Out with Lysa and Renee from Proverbs 31. Woo-hoo! Sorry, Kate (from Jon & Kate Plus Eight) It's not that I'm not excited to meet you. It's just that I don't know you that well. You see, I'm a busy mommy myself and I don't have much time for TV so i don't watch your show on a regular basis. I have seen it once or twice but not enough to fall in love. Just enough to think that it looks a lot like our house and well, with limited time and all, I just wanted to escape not get a good dose of reality. So win my heart today, show me God in the mundane, let's really bond and I'll invite you to come into my living room each week where you can share your heart as I sit on my couch and fold laundry. It's a real safe place and many others have done so before you. I'll be praying for you today and for my old friends Lysa and Renee. I'll post pics and tell you all about it tomorrow. Pinky promise.