I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. Shall windy words have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? (Job 16:2-3 ESV)
Have you ever had a friend go through a hard time and you didn’t know how to comfort them? We might quote Romans 8:28, thinking that it will make them feel better, knowing that God will make this horrible situation out for his good. We can’t stomach not having words to say to someone who is hurting or confused. We want to try to explain why their situation is happening or give them words of comfort. We might even call them daily to see if their situation is improving. Job’s friends were the same way.
The majority of the book of Job consists of his friends explaining to him why his children have died, his livestock are all gone, and he has sores all over his body. We would generally agree with most of the reasons his friends gave for his hurting. But, they aren’t the reasons Job has actually encountered these hardships! Their words of comfort were really words of discomfort. Sometimes God will use us to give a Biblical answer to the suffering a person is enduring, but there will still be instances when we have no idea what to say. Instead of spouting off religiously oriented phrases in these situations, we should listen, listen, and listen some more.
Lend an ear to the hurting, instead of trying to solve all of their problems.