Solomon was one of the wisest man who ever lived. He writes that there is a time for every event under heaven.In Ecclesiastes 3:7 the wise king writes these words:
“There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.”
That’s something most of us admit to getting wrong a lot of time! How often we leave someone who needs to hear about the Lord and we keep our mouths shut. How frequently we could have spoken a word of kindness and encouragement but say nothing instead. It was a time to speak and we come up empty!
Then there are those other times…
When my wife was in intense labor with our firstborn son, Jesse, I recall mentioning to her that it was the fulfillment of God’s word to Eve “In pain you shall bring forth children.” Somehow what I thought was a great insight was less than a blessing to her. I guess mentioning the consequences of the curse didn’t exactly “minister” to her the way I thought it would! What a dope!
We do well to remember the words of Job who had gone through the most tragic and terrible losses one could imagine. He had lost his wealth and his health, his reputation and even the support of his own wife! Yet, beyond all his other losses, no doubt, was his shattered heart for his children who had all died the very same day in the same catastrophe.
When Job’s friends came to comfort him they at first simply said nothing because they saw how great his pain was. However, when they heard him agonize and verbalize, it was more than they could handle so they started to try to “comfort” him with wise counsel. All they did was pour salt on his open wounds.
Job replied: “O that you would be completely silent, and that it would become your wisdom.” (Job 13:5)
Often what hurting people need most is what’s hardest for us to do. Simply show up and shut up.
May the Lord help me do more of what He does all the time for me. Deeply care. Quietly listen.