How do you comfort a friend?

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Have you ever sat with a friend who is crying and searched your own heart for just the right thing to say? I certainly have. Recently, I sat with a woman who told me about a personal problem she was facing. As I listened, my compassionate heart broke and I found myself silently praying, “God, please show me what to say.” I heard only silence and wondered why God wasn’t showing me what to say. I didn’t hear from the Lord until the next morning. As I was reading my Bible, I heard the Lord speak through the words of Job.

When Job’s life fell apart and he lost everything he held precious, his friends gathered around him to comfort him. but, they were lousy comforters! They all gave Job advice which was the last thing Job needed. After Job had enough of their advice, he said these words, “You can console me by listening to me.” (Job 21:2 The New Living Version) I love that! Basically, Job was saying, “Guys, cut the bologna. I don’t need your advice. What I need is someone to listen to me, someone to be with me in my sorrow.”

What would happen if the next time one of your friends was suffering, you gave up trying to say the “right thing” and simply listened? I bet your friend would feel a measure of comfort and hope. Try it and let me know how it works.

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