They sat on the ground with [Job] for seven days and seven nights. Job 2:13
When Jen, a theme park employee, saw Ralph collapse in tears on the ground, she rushed to help. Ralph, a young boy with autism, was sobbing because the ride he’d waited all day to enjoy had broken down. Instead of hurrying him to his feet or simply urging him to feel better, Jen got down onto the ground with Ralph, validating his feelings and allowing him the time to cry.
Jen’s actions are a beautiful example of how we can come alongside those who are grieving or suffering. The Bible tells of Job’s crippling grief after the loss of his home, his herds (his income), his health, and the simultaneous deaths of his ten children. When Job’s friends learned of his pain, they “set out from their homes . . . [to go] comfort him” (Job 2:11). Job sat on the ground in mourning. When they arrived, his friends sat down with him—for seven days—saying nothing because they saw the depth of his suffering.
In their humanness, Job’s friends later offered Job insensitive advice. But for the first seven days, they gave him the wordless and tender gift of presence. We may not understand someone’s grief, but we don’t need to understand in order to love them well by simply being with them.
Who has been with you in difficult times? Who needs your presence today?
God, I thank You for being with me always—in good times and bad. Help me to offer that gift of presence to those You put in my path.
To learn more about helping hurting people, visit ChristianUniversity.org/CC205.
Although the book of Job doesn’t contain the oldest recorded events in the Bible (see Genesis 1), it’s considered by some scholars to be the earliest written book of the Bible. The Bible Knowledge Commentary says an early date of about 2,000 bc is possible for many reasons: The length of Job’s life (about 210 years), his wealth measured in livestock, the absence of any mention of the Mosaic laws and traditions, and the patriarchal name for God (El Shaddai or God the Almighty) being used more than thirty times (though only seventeen times in the rest of the Old Testament). These facts suggest an early date for Job’s writing. This book resonates with people universally because of its candor in struggling with the problem of suffering.