There are precious few people in our lives that we can truly call friend. It is a word that the world has expanded to include new acquaintances and co-workers. A friend is someone you know and want to know better and would drop everything to be by their side in a time of need. You can tell each other things without expecting judgment, when understanding or just an ear to listen is really needed. Friends feel the pain that the other is suffering in times of trial and is someone you can count on to pray for you.
Proverbs 18:24 A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. In a time of personal trial, your true friends will boil to the surface. Sacrifices are made of time and effort to be by your side, drop a note or make a call to check up on you. I have read that most people will have six to twelve very close friends in their lifetime. Of those, only two or three will make up an inner circle at one time. It may seem sad that there are so few, but close friends are like diamonds on black velvet as they reflect the love of Jesus in the dark struggles of our lives. It is, in part, their rarity that makes them so valuable.
One true measure of a friend is seen when trials come. Another way to know who is a real friend is to find the person who will look you in the eye and tell you that you are wrong about something important. Someone who will make excuses for you when it really counts, is not being a faithful friend. Jesus pointed His finger in Peter’s face as He said “get behind Me, Satan…” How that must have stung to get publicly called on the carpet. Peter was being selfish where the salvation of the world was at stake. Though Peter was wrong, Jesus stuck by him. Within days, Peter was an eyewitness to the transfiguration of Jesus. The rebuke was properly taken to heart and the friendship was restored and deepened.
To have and be a friend means we must invest time and invest ourselves. To invest ourselves, we become vulnerable developing trust through confidences shared and kept, sharing the wounds to our hearts. Because we are human, we will make mistakes that will cause hurt. Sharing trials and talking through our hurts, giving space when it is needed, being honest with each other are all a part of friendship. Careful investment and a willingness to weather the storms that will come will bring blessings that are too many to count. There are few things in life that are worth doing that do not have a cost and a learning curve associated with them. The most precious of these take a lifetime to achieve. May we be thankful for Jesus being that friend that sticks closer than a brother. May our lives imitate Him.