They come in every size and shape. Some are extroverts, while others remain introverted. There are the active athletes and the sedentary bookworms.
And then there are those who are fun to be around. The ones who make us laugh and enjoy the moment, even when we thought there was no enjoyment to be found.
But what do we do when life hits the friend who has always been our “picker-upper”?
Let me introduce you to Job. He’s the man who was “blameless, full of integrity, feared God and stayed away from evil” (Job 1:1, NLT). He also had a family, servants, and plenty of livestock. Scripture tells us, “He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area.” (Job 1:3, NLT)
He had to be the “picker-upper” as we are also told that celebrations were the norm for his family (see Job 1:4-5).
Then Job is hit with one disaster after another, within the same day, losing all that he had – his children, his livestock and his servants. His response ….
“Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground in worship.” (Job 1:20, NLT)
Job is now totally overwhelmed in grief. No longer the “picker-upper”, he is filled with a sadness beyond words, a deep dismay has settled upon his heart.
And his friends come …
“When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him…When they say Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust in the air over their heads to show their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.” (Job 2:11-13, NLT)
From these Scriptures, I find three actions we can take when our friends are hurting:
- Respond when you hear of the need. These friends heard and then traveled to get to Job in order to bring him comfort. Don’t assume someone else will make the call, send the card, or go visit.
- Enter into the need. Their response was the same as Job’s – they tore their robes and threw dust into their heads. They demonstrated to Job that they understood his grief and were feeling his pain as well.
- Be there. Sometimes words are not needed. At times, our friends just need our presence – someone to sit with, an arm around a shoulder, a hand held.
All of us will need others to come alongside of us at times during our lives. May we remember the comfort we have received so that we can offer comfort and consolation to others as well.
“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”
(Proverbs 17:17, NLT)
Sometimes we need picking up.
Other times we need to be the “picker-upper”.