At the beginning of this year I started a new reading plan in my Bible. The challenge is to read the entire Bible through in a year. I have done this before, but it was time to dive in again. I find that every time I reread it something new and unexpected pops out. This time through is proving to be the same.
I am currently in the book of Job. For those of you not familiar with him (pronounced Jobe…has nothing to do with working 9-5), Job is one of the oldest books of the Bible. It is a story about a man who has everything, but at the same time is a very good man who follows God very closely. He then has everything taken away, yet he still chooses to follow God. He airs a lot of frustrations in the process, but he does it without cursing his maker. By the end of the book, Job is restored and life is good again. My summation is seriously understated, but give it a read. It is worth the time.
One of the things that sticks out to me is the group of friends that gather around Job during his time of morning. They see him from a far off. They see his desolation. The tear their own clothes as a sign of mourning. Then…the proceed for many chapters to tell Job he must be a terrible guy and he needs to admit all of the bad stuff he did. Their reasoning? It was obvious to them that God must be punishing him for all the wicked things that he had been doing. Job must be a no good, low down, scum bag that was getting his just rewards. Seriously, if these guys were friends…I would hate to see what his enemies looked like.
When I read the Bible I often wonder why certain stories are in there. I believe it is all there for a reason that God intended. The story of Job is no different. I would like to examine one reason that strikes me: Job’s friends were self righteous windbags. I should not be one.
What do we do when we see people hurting? If we are a good friend, we go to them. We show them love. We comfort them. We feed them. If need be, we sit down in the dirt with them and hurt with them. We lift them up. We walk with them always. We don’t let them be alone in their struggle.
I have some very good friends that are just like this. When I was in the dirt, they were there with me. When I was at my lowest points, they were there. They loved me. They took care of me. They have walked and will walk with me. I will do the same for them.
Then, there are the other folks. People you thought you could count on. The ones, like Job’s friends, who loved to point out your failures and tell you how awful you are. They may never have said it in so many words, but their actions spoke clearly what they thought of you. I have known quite a few like this.
I choose to be the good friend. Life is too short to be the other kind of person. I leave this post with a verse that made me laugh out loud. Job had just been verbally assaulted by one of his “Friends”. He looked at them and responded:
“Won’t you ever stop blowing hot air? What makes you keep on talking?” Job 16:3 NLT