When Silence is More Than Golden

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 2:13 (NLT)

Today is my birthday! On this day 34 years ago, I was born in Hialeah, FL. My hope for this day is that I’ll get to spend it with my closest friends and loved ones, celebrating, having fun, enjoying a great meal, and making memories that will last until 35! 

Our verse today speaks of a gathering involving friends . . . but it’s not a birthday. There was no celebrating or having fun, no delicious meal, cake, music, or merriment. Today’s verse speaks of what happened when Job’s friends arrived after having heard the news of the tragedies that had befallen him. Yesterday we saw how these men, upon arriving to see their friend, wailed loudly and “tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief” (Job 2:12 NLT). It was a scene of pure grief and genuine despair for their old buddy Job. They hurt deeply with him.

And today, we learn what they did next . . . sat in silence for seven days with their grieving friend. Wow. Can you imagine that? Regarding this, Joseph Benson wrote, “A long silence . . . is a very natural effect of an extraordinary grief, which overwhelms the mind, and creates a sort of stupor and astonishment.” 

Have you ever found yourself at a complete loss for words, unable to say anything at all to provide answers, relief, comfort, or understanding? I’ve actually been in situations where I realized that there wasn’t a single word I could say that would improve the situation, alleviate the pain, or bring clarity. And in those situations, I’ve found that the best thing to say is nothing at all. Sometimes, silence actually is golden! Sometimes, what a friend needs is simply to know you’re there for them. In the case of Job’s friends, this was definitely the way to go, as we know that when they actually did begin to speak, they said some pretty dumb things.

If you find yourself in a situation like this with a friend, please know that even when no one says a word because the suffering is too great for human words, the Lord is speaking His peace, comfort, and wisdom. While we may not have the words, we know that God is the God of all comfort. Romans 8:26 (NIV) says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” 

DIG: Why is silence sometimes the best course of action?

DISCOVER: Have you ever found yourself in a situation like Job’s friends, where you came to be with a friend and no one spoke for a while? What did it feel like to sit silently? Did it help your friend to simply have your presence there?

DO: As you encounter trials, tribulations, and tragedy, take some time to sit silently before the Lord. Listen for His voice and comfort.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.