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Help Lift the Weight of Grief

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Job 6

There are times of great difficulty when words, including prayer, seem to fail us. Our grief and pain is at a level too deep for us to understand, let alone articulate. And it’s at times like these we crave the presence of our friends and their empathy—a simple, sometimes wordless, recognition that we are fellow sufferers in a cruel world. 

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the book of Job isn’t the calamity that befalls blameless Job, but the attitude of his “friends,” who turn out to be “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2). Job’s friends start out well. They sit with him for seven days in silent fellowship honoring his grief, but their “religious zeal” quickly overcomes their Godly compassion.

Unlike Job, his friends stand condemned at the last because they do not repent of speaking “what [they] did not understand” (Job 42:3). They “comfort” Job with the heavy burden of all false religion: that in all our circumstances God is dealing with us according only to our deeds. The true friend, rather, removes that awful burden with the true comfort of the gospel: that God deals with His children according to His goodness, regardless of our circumstances.

Let us intercede for our friends in distress, following the pattern of the Holy Spirit—the ultimate friend and comforter—by pleading for God’s goodness, sometimes with “groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).

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