Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. And no one said a word, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words. – Job 2:13
Listening works wonders! Loving silence has no sound but tells the one sitting next to you that you care. It can say to the hurting heart, “Because I love you and am interested in you, I am willing to be here and sit in silence with you.”
Job’s friends came to be with him during a difficult time. When they arrived, they were rendered speechless by Job’s obvious sickness and pain. So they simply sat, not saying a word. They had the ministry of presence, and they showed that they cared enough to be there. (If only they had remained quiet, but that’s another story!)
There is such a thing as the ministry of presence, and there is also such a thing as the ministry of silence. Ecclesiastes 3:7 tells us there is “a time to be quiet and a time to speak up.” Can you sit with a friend in silence? When a person is going through a difficult time, can you let her vent and spill and cry while you simply listen? Or do you complete all of her sentences for her? Do you feel that you must give her the answers to all her problems? Perhaps you feel the necessity to fill the air with words. Do you half listen to what she’s saying, waiting to begin on what you want to talk about, the troubles you want to share? In reality, she needs you simply to listen—not give answers, not back away, not talk too much yourself—just listen.
For Further Study: Job 2:11-3:26
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.