August 12 “On not being miserable comforters”


Most of us will have opportunities in life to offer comfort to those suffering and grieving. Will we be miserable comforters like Job’s friends or be able to offer “a word fitly spoken” (Prov. 25.11)?

Today’s Readings:
Job 15 & 16
Psalm 94.20-23
Proverbs 22.28-29
Romans 11.19-36


Job 15 & 16:

Miserable comforters

Eliphaz and Job’s other “comforters” were faced with a dilemma most of us are faced with at one time or another—how to speak truth and yet bring comfort when someone else is suffering.

We can be faced with this dilemma when an unbeliever dies, for example. How do you comfort the family without giving false hope about the basis of salvation? We can’t say we are sure their loved one is in heaven, but we can say that no one knows a person’s heart except God alone. Only He knows what transpired in the past, or even in the days or moments before death. We can encourage the surviving loved one to trust in the goodness and perfect judgment of God.

It is also an opportunity to share with the family the importance of being sure they are in right relationship with God and not leave their family wondering about them should something tragic happen.

Families also need comfort when they or someone close to them is suffering. This can be through the illness of a child or spouse, a divorce, or some other tragedy.

In the beginning, often the best thing we can do is just be there … with a hug, a listening ear, or just our presence. What we don’t want to do is lecture them and act like we know what is going on in the mind of God like Job’s “comforters” did. Job ended up calling them “miserable comforters” (16.2)!

As time goes on, though, Continue reading