The Right Kind of Friend

Sorrow mingled with disbelief washed over me as I read an e-mail in which a friend told me about a painful situation he never expected to be in. After reading the message, I sat in stunned silence, trying to process what he had told me.
Although I realized that the life-shattering agony that had been inflicted upon him would not go away for a very long time, if ever, I began to pray that he would find at least some measure of relief—immediately. And I began to think of how I should respond to such a cry of pain. I wondered, What can I say or do that will be of any comfort to him?
I didn’t want to be as insensitive (or as ignorant!) as the three friends who came to comfort a man named Job, whose story is told in the book of the Bible that bears his name. They were full of explanations and full of advice, based on human reasoning; yet, they had no knowledge of the real reason Job’s life had suddenly been turned upside down. In fact, Job himself didn’t know!
Much to their credit, however, they did care about their friend enough to reach out to him immediately. The Bible says, “When they heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to demonstrate their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. And no one said a word, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words” (Job 2:11-13).
Friends, even well intentioned ones, often cannot bring the comfort or the help the suffering person needs. However, there is One who can, the One who was sent “to bring good news to the poor…to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed” (Isaiah 61:1).
That is why, when someone we know is going through a crisis, we ought to immediately turn to that One and ask Him to help the sufferer. That One, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, “is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope” (Ephesians 3:19).
When we see no way out, He sees one! As one writer said while praising God for the way He miraculously made a way of escape for His children during their Exodus from the land where they’d been held captive, “Your road [O God] led through the sea, your pathway through mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there!” (Psalm 77:19).
This God is the same God we depend upon whenever we face “no way out” situations. And He will surely meet our needs, just as He has always done for those who love Him and place their trust in Him.
Some pain, however, is so great that the sufferers, who would normally know this great truth, cannot think clearly about it. If so, they need friends who will ask God for help on their behalf, friends who will walk alongside of them through the dark valleys.
So, as this year ends and a new one begins, let’s resolve to be that kind of friend. Let’s also ask God to send friends like that into our lives.
© 2005 by Johnnie Ann Burgess Gaskill, Scriptures quoted are from the New Living Translation.
Swag out with Christian Activities Merchandise!



Enjoy this website? Please spread the word :)