Job has some wonderful lessons.  For example, Job’s sufferings are not complete when he loses all of his possessions.  They don’t reach a fullness when his children die.  No, as he sits in the ruins of his house, covered in ashes and using a potsherd to scrape the boils from his body, his suffering reaches its peak when his home teachers show up to badger him into submission.

Doesn’t everyone know that when you have grief or sorrow, what your life really needs is someone to shout at you?

Of course what they are really doing is trying to make sense of Job’s problems.  They want:

  1. The universe to make sense.
  2. The universe to make sense in a way that assures them that they are inoculated or protected against bad things happening to them.
  3. Job to get over it so he is not a cloud in their lives. 
  4. To “help” without actually having to do anything.

To do that they are quite willing to increase his suffering, accuse him wrongfully, ignore the truth and mock God.  Which is why when God speaks from the whirlwind at the end, he condemns the so-called friends.

It is useful to compare the “friends” to a typical sister dropping by a meal packaged up so that there is nothing that needs to be returned.  Quick stop, a kind ear, food, and maybe a second sister with her to take turns with children or light cleaning while the other sits and listens.

So, how do you comfort those who mourn?  Are you like one of the more prominent biblical figures in what you do and how you do it?  At this time of year, when many need comfort as the recession grinds along into Christmas, what do you plan to do?  Who do you plan to avoid?