Loneliness is a dark place. It isn’t determined by how many people you have around you or how busy you appear to be. I recently read a quote from the late Robin Williams ‘I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.’ I have spent a little time thinking about Job’s friends and how they treat Job, the truth is, from Job’s point of view they are miserable comforters (16:2). Job himself says that if he were in their shoes, and they were in his, he would comfort, encourage and bring relief to them (16:5). He, despite their presence feels alone.
But there is a reaction that comes out of Job because of their attack and lack of compassion towards him … Job has no choice but to look elsewhere for comfort. He cannot find it in the things around him since they are all but destroyed and it cannot be found in the cruelty of his friends. At first it even appears that it cannot come from GOD.
He addresses GOD ‘Surely, GOD, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household’ (16:7). He starts to be honest with GOD about what and how he is feeling. Where then, can comfort come from? His friends are useless and GOD seems to be to blame for it all in the first place, so where will he go? He is searching for something or someone …
Then, suddenly, amid Job’s arguments and complaints, his accusations against GOD and his perceived self-righteousness, Job begins to describe someone that will free him from it all. One that will be his comfort and rescuer, one that knows him, sees him and has the power to save.
Even now my WITNESS is in Heaven; my ADVOCATE is on high. My INTERCESSOR is my FRIEND as my eyes pour out tears to GOD; on behalf of a man he pleads with GOD as one who pleads for a friend. Job 16:19-21
I love that way that Job describes this person or being.
Witness: someone who sees an event; is evidence or proof. The witness that is in Heaven – not tainted or fooled by the world.
Advocate: someone who puts a case on someone’s behalf. The advocate that is on high, holding authority and station.
Intercessor: someone who intervenes on behalf of another, especially by prayer. The intercessor that knows the heart of GOD and prays for you accordingly so that the answers are yes and amen.
Friend: someone with whom one has a bond of mutual affection. The friend who sees and knows you fully … and loves you the same.
But he goes one step further and claims this person as one belonging to himself. This person is for him and with him. He uses the term my … this witness, advocate, intercessor and friend is mine. Here is his comfort and comforter – it is all found in Jesus. He has no need to look further.
Jesus brings life and light where there is darkness. He stands before GOD and pleads for his friends. He holds all creation in His hands yet He does not disregard us. He is the one that truly takes our place so that we can walk our path joyfully despite being in the valley of shadow, in fact, He sets a new path before us. By reaching out to this friend we can find real life and colour, and we can finally let go of trying to hold it all together by our own strength. By giving Him control we will be free.
I can claim Jesus as my perfect friend and therefore I will have no reason to walk in the darkness of loneliness. Whatever my feelings tell me, the steadfast truth is that I am not alone and GOD does not leave me lonely. My feelings might shift and cannot be trusted as firm foundations. The truth is, this witness, advocate, intercessor and friend is mine and I belong to Him.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:31-34