Learning from Job’s Friends
Job 2:11-13 in the ESV says, “When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”
As I write you this, my heart is very heavy for the events of this past week in our nation. I ache for the senseless murder of George Floyd and the pain that his family is experiencing. I ache over the pain and loss that his death has caused our land. I ache for the black community and the realities that they live with every day.
I find myself in an interesting position. I want to be like Job’s friends…and then again, I don’t. You see, Job’s friends exercised what we call the “Ministry of Presence” by sitting with Job in his pain for seven days without saying a word. I think that is one of the most appropriate things that we as believers can do right now with our friends and neighbors in the African-American community. Yet, I also don’t want to be like Job’s friends, because when they opened their mouths, the conversation went sideways. I don’t want to misspeak out of a lack of understanding and further a divide that is very tangible and real. I want to listen, learn and be part of the solution.
I spent a good 35-40 minutes on the phone with Pastor David Hill today. David leads Restoration Community Church in the Third Ward of our city. We have been in partnership with he and Melissa and the church there since it began. I called David and said, “Hey brother, I need you to teach me right now. I don’t know what to say and I don’t want to open my mouth and misspeak right now. Please speak into my life.” I am thankful that David did just that. It was a good, hard conversation that will bear a lot of fruit in my life. I would highly encourage you to watch David’s message here and see how he is pointing people in our city to hope through the good news of Jesus. His message starts at the 22 minute mark and he and his church are hosting a prayer vigil tomorrow (Wednesday) night to honor George Floyd and pray for our city at 6 pm at Restoration Community Church, 6520 New York Street, Houston, TX 77021. It will be held outside so as to provide for social distancing.
I was on a call last night with a dozen pastors. Half of them were black and half of them were white. It too, was a challenging conversation. But what I want you to hear is that I believe that it will bear fruit in tremendous ways, and if we are truly going to lift our city then we are going to have to understand peoples’ pain. I’ll have more to say online and on-campus this weekend. For now, please pray for the Floyd family, for our nation, for the city of Houston and for a healing in our land.
Roger Patterson is the Senior Pastor of the CityRise Network, leading multiple congregations in lifting our city and the world by generously giving the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Roger lives in Houston with his wife Julee, and three children.