A boy is a fickle friend; a man is a faithful friend. “A friend loves at all times, but a brother is born for adversity.” That’s Proverbs 17:17. There is nothing quite as important in life as having a small set of friends who are loyal to you to the end. And there’s nothing quite as important as being that kind of friend to others.
A true friend is loyal to you when you’re up, when you’re down, when you succeed, when you fail, when the world praises and when the world condemns. Being a true friend means your friends can count on you when they need you the most.
And on the other hand, there is nothing quite so painful as to be abandoned, in a time of crisis, by someone you thought was a friend.
Here’s my own experience:
“Some of the deepest pain I have experienced in my life has been at the hands of men I thought were true friends but who turned on me in betrayal right when I needed a ‘friend who loves at all times.’
“But some of the richest experiences of my life have come when good men have come to my side when others had rejected me.
I remember in particular one incident about a year after I had started a new church. After a showdown at a board meeting took place, over a biblical matter on which I could not compromise, they left en masse just two or three short days later. It left me alone at a time when the church was young enough that their resignations could have been fatal.
“Their departure rocked me hard for many reasons, not the least of which was that the church was my only source of income to take care of my young family. And my income that first year was quite modest to begin with.
“At that time, our worship team rehearsed on Thursday nights, and it happened to be on a Thursday night that I got the phone call informing me that I was now in this thing all by myself.
“While I was still absorbing the blow, pondering matters while cleaning up dishes in the kitchen sink, I noticed a car pull up in front of the house. Out stepped the drummer on our worship band, who just happened to stop by on his way home from rehearsal. This, as I remember, was the only time he was prompted to drop by the house unannounced just to see how I was doing.
“He came in, grabbed a seat, and when I informed him of what had just happened, he could readily see that it had shaken me up. His response to it all was just what I needed to hear. I do not remember the exact words he used, but I remember as if it were yesterday how timely they were and how much I needed to hear his words of encouragement and hope.
“He truly was a ‘brother born for adversity.’
“That very next Sunday I asked the congregation’s help in replacing the leadership team of the church, and we together selected seven men of maturity and wisdom. We wound up with a much stronger and seasoned elder board than we had had just days before.”
Solomon says, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24). In other words, you may find in time that the brothers you have in Christ become even closer to you than the brothers who are a part of your own family.
It’s far better to have a handful of dependable friends, even only one, than a whole posse of guys who can’t be counted on when the chips are down. Choose your friends wisely.
How do you find friends like this? That’s easy: be a friend like this. Make it your goal to be a “friend (who) loves at all times,” a “brother born for adversity,” a “friend who sticks closer than a brother,” and it won’t be long before you will have some good buds around you who will return the favor.
Remember: A boy is a fickle friend; a real man is a faithful friend.
Father, I pray that my son will grow up to be a friend who loves at all times, a man who is born for adversity, and a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I pray that you will bring into his life men who will be his faithful and loyal friends in return. As you knit the soul of Jonathan together with David, so I pray that you will knit his soul together with the friends of your choosing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)