After seven days of silence, Job spoke up in chapter 3 in front of his friends.
What Job said were not happy words or even being positive. He was so deeply discouraged and saddened that his wish was that he had never been born.
What would a friend do? Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, heard about what happened and came to sympathize with him and comfort him. They kept company with Job for seven days and received a load of depressive language.
The first part of Eliphaz’s response was recorded in chapter 4, today’s chapter.
From this first part of the response, Eliphaz was trying to normalize what Job encountered, the causal relationship and the interpretation of God’s righteousness; later on, preparing to pass judgment on Job in his second part of response.
Not sure if this was the best thing Eliphaz could say, but it did not sound very comforting.
What would Jesus do? Our Bible reading not long ago was in the gospel of John. When Jesus saw the agony of Lazarus’ family, he wept with them (John 11). There were some complaints from Martha and Mary, Jesus listened, but did not pass on judgment on them.
It is hard to comfort someone, and it is also not easy to be comforted.
Maybe we are taking it too lightly. It takes the compassion, not the pity, to attempt to comfort someone; it takes the maturity, not self-pity, to receive the comfort. Both take faith in God to carry through and carry on.
(Isaiah 50:4) The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, awakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
May the Lord give us the wisdom of comfort, because He is the comfort and the source of all good things. May others find us faithful, no matter comforting, or comforted.
—- Ivy Lin