Job 23:8-10 “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
At the time reading Job, he has suffered much from the hand of God, from his enemy Satan and by the time we read chapter 23, he has suffered rebuke at the mouth of three of his closest friends. To be honest, I think I would have gotten in the flesh much sooner than he did overwhelmed with grief, a sense of loss and despair – physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually.
His deep faith searched everywhere for the presence of God – and found silence. His friends came to commiserate with him and turned out to be ‘miserable comforters’.
We are often pressed; sometimes out of measure – meaning we are living beyond our comfort zone due to outside pressures of work, family, friends, ministry, relationships and mental anguish of not being in control. In those times it may feel as if waves are washing over our soul and we cannot find relief; we become so overwhelmed, we panic.
RU Recovery is a faith-based addiction program designed to bring the addicted out of the bondage of their sin to a good and right relationship with God. The program methodically uses the Word of God to break the strongholds (a belief system based upon a lie) and establish right thinking, right emotions and right actions that God, in His Word promises to bless. We call it the ‘Doctrine of Replacement’.
In our program, we operate by ten principles found in the Word of God. Number six says: “Those who do not love the Lord, will not help me serve the Lord.” John 5:18-20; Proverbs 25:15-16. In application to what God showed me this morning, I thought – “What if Job’s three friends just sat in silence with him? What if they just prayed with him, sought God’s face and continued till they got an answer? What if they became his cheerleader instead his greatest critics?”
I think it a male thing to always want to ‘fix it’ when presented with a problem. I have found; with more error than trial, that going into ‘fix it’ mode is more hurtful than helpful. But to find a friend who will walk alongside you, point you to Christ and weep when you weep, rejoice when you rejoice – you have found a good friend indeed.
I think we can all name a few ‘friends’ whose influence led us to a regrettable situation and sinful decisions in our lives. But to have that one who puts their arm around us, loves us where we’re at and gently points us back to Christ, is a friendship worth investing time, effort and love.
Our marriages should be that way – and if not, it should be a communicated and common goal. Those we choose as close friends should fit into this category as well. Every relationship we are in has a certain amount of give and take. An overabundance of either is out of balance.
In the ebb and flow and seasons of relationships; we may very well find that one or those few who challenge us, admonish and exhort us, support us, love us and are faithful through the thick and thin… those my friend are true friends indeed!