‘A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity’. Proverbs 17:17
As I read this proverb this morning I couldn’t but help think about the people who I became friends with over the years and the circumstances that brought us together. Some of those encounters were deliberate but most were incidental. Making friends deliberately is normally driven by some kind of need or even want. I confess that some of my deliberate encounters were driven by selfish motives and mostly ended with an out of sight of mind attitude. And I now ask myself, how many of them do I still consider friends.
My mom often said, show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are, I understood what she meant then, and as I consider Solomon’s words, they take an even more profound meaning. My friends know me at my worst and they never openly judge me by it. Friends know what is wrong without saying it, their silence is more powerful than the most comforting words, and I wonder what my mom would make of my friends now.
When my brother died almost two years ago many people came to the family home to offer their support. I was sometimes slightly surprised and even embarrassed by the people who came and stood by me and family. Their first reactions when they saw me revealed faces of empathy and their first words were silence. They knew, they felt.
Regardless of where I am the constraints of time and distance seem insignificant, a mere ‘so what?’, to my friends. They love me and I love them brothers born for adversity.
But even more amazing is the greatest friend I know, Jesus. A friend who is also Saviour and Lord. He is the friend I met when nobody saw me in my distress, in my darkest and most hideous state. When no one would look at me, He bore my shame. When no one would hear me, He was my advocate. The words spoken by Solomon can only make perfect sense when I see Jesus as my best friend.
I want you to know Him as friend too. Jesus friend of sinners. ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’ John 3:17.
Andrew Timberlake, and people need the Lord