Then they opened their mouths - and it all went downhill from there. Thankfully the friendship survived.
It's great to have friends that can be there for us through the good, but especially the bad. The Bible speaks a lot about friendships; even Jesus had his disciples who were followers and friends. John 15:13-15[NLT]
Job's friends were intentional - when they heard, they got together, and traveled from their homes to be with him. Imagine this, in the time before cell phones or email. The communication was not instantaneous and yet in spite of the elapsed time they made a plan to be there for their friend. Whenever they got there it would be the right time.
Job's friends shared his grief - .When they first saw him they cried loudly - these were some emotional men! Then they sat with him for seven days and seven nights and said nothing for they saw that his suffering was great - this is the epitome of being there for a friend. Your presence alone is a wonderful comfort; nothing needs to be said.
Job's friends were male - we make a big deal today about female friendships and the need for girlfriends, but a little known fact is that men need friendships also and Job had this in spades. Men can be vulnerable and open with each other (in their own way) and reap the benefits of friendship.
Job proved to be a very good friend, for at the end of his trials Job prayed for his friends in spite of some of the things they said to, and about him, and then Job was restored. Is there a correlation?
11 When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. Their names were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. 12 When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words. Job 2: 11-13 [NLT]
Human beings seem to do better when they have friends around; it's as if we were wired for this interaction.
How many of us have three good friends? How many of us can forgive our friends and remain friends with them?