Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Our Daily Bread.....

The Greatest Gift

READ: Job 2

They sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him. —Job 2:13

We rightly disparage Job's three friends for their insensitive response to his suffering. Yet when they came, they sat in silence beside Job for 7 days before speaking. As it turned out, those were the most eloquent moments they spent with him.

Instinctively, I shrink back from people who are in pain. Who can know whether they want to talk about their predicament or not? Do they want to be consoled, or cheered up? What good can my presence possibly do?

Tony Campolo tells of going to a funeral. By mistake he ended up in the wrong parlor. It held the body of an elderly man, and his widow was the only mourner present. She seemed so lonely that Campolo decided to stay for the funeral. He even drove with her to the cemetery.

At the conclusion of the graveside service, Campolo finally confessed that he had not known her husband. "I thought as much," said the widow. "But it doesn't really matter. You'll never, ever, know what this means to me."

Most often those who suffer remember the quiet, unassuming person. Someone who was there when needed, who listened, who didn't keep glancing at a watch, who hugged, touched, and cried. In short, someone who was available and came on the sufferer's terms, not their own.

In our shattered times, anguish relents
Not at mere idle words spoken in vain,
But rather from the silent eloquence
Bestowed by those rare souls who share our pain. —Evans

Often, the best comfort is just being there.
I pray that God would instill this kind of compassion in my heart.......


Kris said...

You have NO idea what kind of incredible timing this post is. Less than an hour ago, I learned that one of the moms out here I'm getting to know lost her baby 1/2 way thru the pregnancy. She and I were JUST emailing encouraging words back and forth late last night and this morning.

I'm now praying about how the Lord can use me to be there for her and her family. I REALLY NEED a more compassionate heart as well.

cheryl said...

Let me add...the BEST Doctors,nurses/aides and therapists involved in Dad's care are not the ones that know the most or look the best, but the ones that actually set down his chart and hold his hand, look into his eyes and give him a word of encouragement!! There are many verses in Proverbs that teach us this, but I think of Proverbs 15:30 for starters: "A cheerful LOOK brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones."

I too have been convicted of the need to take time with people...to stop and listen to them and to engage in their lives. Most people that are hurting whether it be physical or emotional NEED someone to stop what they are doing and listen, hug and just give them a cheerful look.

Job...there is much to learn from this man AND from his friends! Thank you for posting this! Yes, it's very timely!

Kelly said...

Excellent, post Sandy! Thanks for the stirring reminder!