11Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. 12And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. 13So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great. -Job 2:11-13 (KJV)
Many times I have been with people during periods of intense grief. During those times we need only reach out to the Lord in faith to experience the wonderfully healing power of His Spirit. I have heard people say they are uncomfortable at hospitals and funerals because they do not know what to say. The truth is most of the time we do not have to say anything. Our presence is what is most important. A warm handshake, a gentle embrace, or a touch on the shoulder speaks more comfort than any words we could possibly utter.
The Scripture show how Job was tested in just about every way possible, yet his faith remained constant. In the end the Lord blessed Job far beyond anything he had previously experienced. The Bible says when Job’s three friends came to see him they were so filled with grief over all which had happened they sat with Job for seven days and spoke not a single word. Imagine the discipline it took during the seven day period to not say anything. Often we are so uncomfortable with silence we think we have to say something. Consider how there will be times when the best response to someone’s grief is to simply be there. Words are not always required.
I find this principle applies to others aspects of life as well. The Bible says how too many words will create problems in our lives. Ecclesiastes 5:7 says, “For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.” We can easily allow our words to get ahead of our thoughts and we end up speaking words we later regret. Even Jesus, when standing trial before King Herod and the Sanhedrin, did not speak in His own defense, choosing instead to commit Himself to God; “Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him” (Luke 23:9, 10).
There is indeed a time to speak and a time to be silent. As we walk with Christ He will give us wisdom to know the difference. Trust Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our words. Speak carefully; for once uttered we cannot take back what we have said.
Therefore, if we must speak, let us utter words which exalt Christ, comfort one another, and witness to His grace.