Sitting with a Grieving Friend

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Job 6-7

The two lowest times in my life were in March of 1994 and October of 1998. Yet these were also the two times when Jesus began to radically transform my faith.

March 1994 was when I finally broke up with my fiance, Eric, and moved to St. Louis. Shortly thereafter I met Jesus and began a whole new life with Him by my side.

October 1998 was when I found out that our stillborn son’s body had been lost by the hospital after his autopsy. I couldn’t understand why God would allow this to happen. My son being stillborn was painful enough …. Why this?

I wrestled and struggled and mourned and questioned and grieved for months. What had I done wrong? Was God punishing me? I didn’t want to go to church. I didn’t want to have playdates with my friends and their children. I just wanted to curl up in bed and stay there.

My friends couldn’t understand the depth of my pain. “He wasn’t even full-term.” “You’ll have another.” “I had a miscarriage, too, once. You’ll get over it. Give it some time.” “It was just a body.” Their words dug into my heart like so many little piercing arrows.

I distanced myself from my friends, and they distanced themselves from me, too. I couldn’t relate to them … And they couldn’t relate to me, either. They didn’t want to just sit and grieve with me day after day. A few days of crying was enough, wasn’t it? Why was this still going on weeks and even months later?

This was when the book of Job really entered my life for the first time. Actually, I had first met Job casually in college when I read it as a “great work of ancient literature” in one of my liberal arts classes. But 1998 is when Job’s words pierced my heart even deeper than my friends’ words.

Out of all that pain and confusion God again did something new in my heart. He grew my faith in new and profound ways. He taught me to trust Him even when I don’t understand. He taught me that He is good even when people aren’t. He taught me that I can always turn to Him in my pain and suffering.

This week, reading Job again, really taking time to sit and study and journal and think, Job’s piercing words are aimed at my heart in a new way. Have I withheld kindness from a friend? Have I made light of a friend’s suffering? Can I look my friend in the eye and hold her hand in her grief?

Sisters, let’s not make the same mistakes as Job’s friends. Let’s run toward our friends in their pain, being willing to mourn with those who mourn, rather than running away out of fear and discomfort.

Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father,

Your grace is sufficient for me for Your power is made perfect in my weakness. Thank You for giving us this book of Job, that we could better understand the grief of men and the goodness of God. Please help us to be good friends, to run towards those who are hurting instead of running away. Help us to be willing to sit and listen, instead of always trying to speak and fix. Make us vessels of Your love and peace and kindness and comfort.

In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

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