“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17
I don’t know this for certain, but I’m sure that if we were to survey people Family Feud style about what they’re most thankful for, that “friends” would be at the top of many people’s list. In a culture where many people come from broken families, often times the closest of friends become like a surrogate family.
I have been blessed over the years with many incredible, Godly friends who consistently point me to Christ and have become family to me. I am truly more than thankful for these friends. I’m eternally grateful to the Lord for putting these people in my life.
One such friend is my best friend, Steve. I know him well enough to know not to sing his praises too loudly on here, but my point can’t be made without explaining at least a little bit of the greatness of this friendship. We have been there for each other as the toughest times of our lives have hit us. I can honestly say that he is a huge part of the reason I am the man I am today.
Biblically speaking, we see a friendship that is as deep as any of our culturally legendary best friendships in the relationship between the future king David and his best friend Jonathan. It says in 1 Samuel 19:1 that Jonathan “delighted” in David. The Hebrew word there literally means to have a strong affection for something or someone that is by his or her own volition or will. What this is saying is that Jonathan had committed himself to his friendship with David. He was willing to do anything for his friend.
This commitment was tested in as intense of a matter as any. Now, Steve and I have been through a lot, but nothing like this. The king at the time, Saul, disobeyed God and was told that his line would no longer hold the throne in Israel, but would be passed on to someone else. That someone else was David.
Think about that for a second. Jonathan was Saul’s son, his heir apparent to the throne. If anyone had reason to despise David, it would have been Jonathan because it was his throne that David would be taking. But no, he celebrated his friend’s accomplishment and committed himself to God’s chosen king, not his father. Within the character of Jonathan, we see absolutely no hint of jealousy of his friend’s success, but sacrifice.
Here’s where the real test came. In 1 Samuel 19, in the ultimate fit of jealousy, Saul orders David to be killed. Jonathan responds by doing everything in his power to usurp his father’s efforts to save David’s life. What a great friend!
But, of course, the best example of a great friend to be thankful for is Jesus, who “for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame.” All this He did because of His great love for us.
Look around at your friend’s today and be thankful for the ones who have stuck out their neck for you, defended you, comforted you, challenged you, admonished you, and encouraged you. Just as the verse above says, a friend is born for adversity. Make sure to tell those who have been with you through your adversity how thankful you are for them. They certainly are a gift from the Lord.