Offering Hope Too Soon

When friends try to comfort us, they often try too hard. After a mother’s miscarriage, for example, someone may say to her, “Don’t worry, you’ll have another baby.” In the effort to assuage a mother’s grief, the well-meaning friend offers cardboard instead of steak.

After Job loses his children, he looks for comfort from his three peers. They meet together, visit Job, and listen for a long time. So far, so good. Once Job opens up with the full blast of his pain (Chapter three), however, one by one, they go to work.

Elpihaz, Job’s first would-be comforter, offers him a lot of hope. Among the life-lines he throws out: “You will see that your offspring are many, your descendants like the grass of the earth” (5:25). In the previous verse, he even tells Job how he will obtain his new children!

Job receives no comfort from that hope, offered too soon. “If my anguish were weighed… it would be heavier than the sand of the sea” (6:2), he says, as soon as Eliphaz finishes. Instead, his mind focuses laser-like on God’s mistreatment of him (see v. 4).

Before someone in emotional pain can receive the hope we offer, they may have other, for them, more important agenda issues to work through first.



About Grose

Gordon Grose loves most to write, speak, and preach on the message of hope from the book of Job. Using drama, video, and PowerPoint, he has preached and presented this message of hope to churches around the country. Grose pastored three congregations 25 years, then served 12 years as a pastoral counselor in a Portland, Oregon counseling clinic. He now serves with Good Samaritan Counseling Services, Beaverton, OR. A graduate of Wheaton College (IL), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Brandeis University, and Boston University, he comes from a rich and varied background in theological and counseling training. In 2015, Gordon published Tragedy Transformed: How Job's Recovery Can Provide Hope For Yours, a book about turning to Job for hope after tragedy. If you have experienced life challenges or personal tragedy, visit his Transforming Tragedy ( blog to learn more. provides a sample of Gordon's speaking as well as an opportunity to purchase copies of his book.
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