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Good Grief Counseling – Job Part 4

January 7, 2010

Let me start off by saying that I’m not an expert in grief counseling.  My degree is in computer science and that puts me below the curve already when it comes to discussing this topic.  However, God’s word on the matter is transcendently true.  In other words it is true for all people, all the time, and everywhere.  Most of us at one time or another have found ourselves awkwardly face to face with someone in deep sorrow or grief with the opportunity to share words of comfort and encouragement to them.  The awkwardness is that we don’t always know what to say and many times the words that flow from our best intentions end up being words that flood from our lack of understanding.  More often than not it is simply enough to physically be there.

Job endured a great deal of suffering at the hands of Satan and through God’s permission.  Having lost family, fortune, and even his health Job was a man of constant sorrow.  Yet Job remained faithful to the Lord.

So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.  Job 2:7-10

Job grieved over his situation, though he never lost hope.  Grief is an appropriate response to changes in our lives.  It is a process that we must go through.  Although we often want the quick fix.  Perhaps a more accurate statement is that we want to give a quick fix to those who are grieving.  In an effort to offer that quick fix solution we feel the need to tell the person grieving why the situation has occurred and what they need to do to get past it.  Though there are often good intentions behind our efforts are words deliver a much more insensitive message.

Three of Job’s friends came to see him during this time and upon seeing the state of his condition it brought them to weeping and sorrow.  They set out to sympathize and comfort Job and for seven days the offered the best grief counseling anyone could ever receive – they were there so Job was not alone.

11 When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.  Job 2:11-13

Good grief counseling begins with simply showing up.  I’ll never forget looking for certain people to come support my wife and I at a viewing during the recent loss of her grandfather and feeling so disappointed when they didn’t show.  Keep in mind that there were literally hundreds of people that came through that night and supported us.  Some I knew, but most I didn’t.  Notice I didn’t say I was looking for a certain message from someone that night.  I just wanted to see certain faces come through the line that night so I would feel comforted, even if they never said a word.  Let me say I appreciate those who did come very much.

If you know of someone who is grieving let them know you are aware of their situation.  If they have lost a loved one in the recent past, let them know you remember.  Resist the urge to offer a solution to the problem or a quick fix and simply be there with them.  Let them know that they are not alone.

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-

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