In For the Long Haul

By: Jill Briscoe

Have you ever considered how impressive it was that Job’s friends were in it for the long haul?  Maybe Job didn’t appreciate that fact as time wore on, but at least they didn’t bail out at the first opportunity. If we are going to be real comforters, we are going to have to settle in to see it through. We may not be in a position to be absent from our home or business, but we can take steps to assure Job that we’ll be there till the end.

A young woman in our church lost her husband to cancer. For the first year of her loss, her friends, family, and even strangers, rallied around and ministered to her. Then came the second year—the year the experts say is usually the worst. “I hope they are right,” she wrote to me, “because this second year has been the pits!  It was great at first, with so many wonderful people giving me their full attention, but now they are busy with their own lives, and I’m all alone.”

It's obviously not possible for everyone to keep up such intensive attention, but some should.  I am learning to ask God, “Do You want me to be in this for the long haul?” Sometimes He says no, and sometimes He says yes. If He replies in the affirmative, it’s extremely important to be faithful.  And if we are the ones who should stick around until He says it’s over, we should take steps to learn what to do and what to say. You can’t stay silent forever, and you have to blow your nose and dry your eyes at some point, and then it will be time to talk. When that time comes, we had better be equal to the task. Otherwise we may earn the same rebuke Job’s friends heard eventually because they had not “spoken rightly.”

There can be great comfort in words. But that all depends on what the words are and when we use them. Our words should always have their base in Scripture. These are the words that can be used by the Holy Spirit to comfort and heal. They certainly should not be words of rebuke or criticism.  Real love always looks for ways to encourage.

Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine and ministry.