Serving the brokenhearted is not about our comfort. It's about their need.

And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. Job 2:13

The Ministry of Presence is powerful.

The amount of broken, overwhelmed, hurting, suffering people in this world - and in our very small personal circle of that world - is not a small number.

A sick parent.
A dying spouse.
A friend who is saying goodbye to her newborn child.
A couple in the middle of a divorce.
A parent weeping over a teenager that ran away.
A daughter hooked up to tubes in a hospital room.
A diagnosis of an incurable, debilitating disease.
A job lost.
A career ended.
A friend found after an overdose.
A spouse left shocked and devastated after news of an affair.
A barren womb.

Suffering is real.
Pain exists.
Sorrow overwhelms.
And often, those experiencing these realities do not need us to make them feel better.
They don't need us to fill the awkward silence.
They don't want to hear empty promises.
They don't want to be told how they should feel.
They just want us.

Scripture says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15
Notice, there is not one word in this verses that requires conversation.
When we find ourselves staring into the face of a grieving, devastated, suffering person - it is not about our comfort.
We are not there for us - we are there to minister to the one whose heart is broken.
And sometimes, the best way to love them in their darkest hour ... is in silence.

For all of the foolishness, poor doctrine, and incorrect perceptions of God bound up in the hearts and minds of Job's friends, this one thing they did RIGHT!
And they (the friends) sat with him (Job) on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. Job 2:13
Such wisdom! Such compassion.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 tells us there is a time for everything, including, "... a time to keep silence, and a time to speak." 
We may not know the time for silence or for words, but there is someone who does. And He promises to give us godly wisdom if we ask. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5
There IS a time for everything.
There is a time to speak, pray, and repeat the truths of God's Word to a wounded, weary, and weeping brother or sister. They need support, love, compassion, understanding, and kindness to keep them from drowning in their tears.
But often, when the pain hurts the most, they just need - us.

May we emulate Job's friends and "sit with" our brothers and sisters willingly, patiently, and quietly - until they break the silence. And then, ask the Lord to fill us with the perfect words, Scriptures, and emotion to meet the need of the moment.
Jesus is a "man of sorrows," so there is no one better to teach us how to minister to those who weep than the One who understands their pain best.

Thank You, Father, for this verse in Job. A book filled with tragedy and suffering, and a book that begins and ends with Job PRAISING You when You give - and when You take away.
May we follow his example when trials are our own, and may we minister to others the same way his friends did, in sympathetic silence, until You open our mouths to speak what You want us to say. 
You have such compassion toward us, and You desire that we would offer the same to the brethren. Let us SEE the hurting hearts that surround us every day, Lord, so we may RESPOND, and bring each one to the only place they will find true healing and be fully restored ... the feet of Jesus Christ.
Teach us to see as You see, and fill us with a love like Yours so we are never able to walk away from another hurting heart. 

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