Devotion 5 - 04 Nov 2012

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Proverbs 17:17 - “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

To Be a Friend

You've probably heard the popular phrase, “a friend in need is a friend indeed”… And I’m sure that many, if not all, of us have come to experience the truth of this little saying in our own lives. No doubt we've all been through a particularly dark and difficult time at some stage in our lives and the only true comfort was the presence of a friend, a kind gesture by someone we know as a friend, or the encouraging words of a friend who know us well enough to be able to say just the right thing at the right time. In these moments we appreciate the truth of the saying, ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’… It is really only those who remain close to us and faithful during the difficult times whom we would count as our true friends.



However, it may surprise some readers to discover that this popular little phrase is not a modern invention. In fact, the principle it communicates is one expressed in some of the most ancient wisdom we have available to read today – the book of Proverbs. In chapter 17 and verse 17 of this beautiful book we read the following: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”



If you’re a fan of westerns, the following story might just appeal to you… The Lone Ranger and his trusty Indian companion Tonto were riding across the plains one day when the noticed a cloud of dust that turned out to be a band of hostile Indians charging straight at them. They tried to flee but were soon confronted by another group of Indians from the same tribe. Before long they found themselves surrounded by a small army of angry enemies out to destroy them. Realizing that there was no escape the Lone Ranger turned to Tonto and asked: “What do we do now, Tonto?” Tonto glared back at him… “What do you mean ‘we’, Paleface?”



There are times in our lives when it seems that we’re surrounded by a band of angry hostiles wanting nothing but our downfall, and in these moments we don’t need a Tonto (who was willing to betray and abandon his companion when it appeared his own safety was at risk), we need the type of friend that ancient wisdom tells us is a true friend and brother (one who loves at all times, one who seems to have been born for adversity).



But more than that, the challenge is not for us to have such friends, but rather, to be such friends. We all know of people who face their own band of Indians today, what sort of friend are we hoping to be to them? Do we tend to be like Tonto, often taking the first opportunity to run and avoid the possibility of having to share in the struggle and misfortune of another? Or do we strive to be like the friend and brother described for us in the book of Proverbs, showing love at all times, even difficult times, and ready always to face adversity alongside those we would call our friends?

The challenge of God’s word to each of us this day is a simply one – will we be the type of friend that others need? Will we be the type of friend that we have often longed for and been thankful for? Take the time today to stand by and for someone whom you know desperately needs you to be such a friend.