YBL Blog – The Gift of a Godly Friend
No one likes hard times, and yet, they are inevitable. So the question is not, will we have hard times, but how do we process these seasons in a productive way? Because hardship is a universal human experience, there are millions of people offering differing answers to this question today. How can we handle difficulties in the family, in politics, or at work? As a Christian, I believe the Bible is sufficient to help us. Let me suggest the beginnings of an answer from the life of David and his friend Jonathan:“
While David was at Horesh in the desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him to find strength in God.”
-1 Samuel 23:15-16
At this point in his life, David had killed Goliath with a slingshot. He had led numerous successful military campaigns, and was loved in Israel. However, in the moment described above, David learns that King Saul of Israel (his boss), is seeking to repay his hard work and courage by killing him. David had been so successful that Saul was threatened.
With the confirmation of this one piece of news David had essentially not only lost his job, he was now effectively a criminal and on the run. He must have felt very forsaken and alone. It would have been easy to give in to despair.
At this moment of crisis, David’s friend Jonathan came to see him. It is remarkable because Jonathan was the son of Saul. The kingship would have been Jonathan‘s privilege by right of succession. He might have been expected to hate David, as David becoming king would mean Jonathan would not be. However, Jonathan never displays any of the jealousy so prominent in his father.
Jonathan comes to David. He comforts his friend, and he also does the most important thing anyone can do when someone is in a trial – verse 16 above says, “he helped him [David] find strength in God.”
This is the gift of Christian friendship. When we are in trouble, it is encouraging to have a friend who is there for you. It is even more important to have friends who are there for you and point you in the right direction–who point you to God and help you to find reliable hope in Him.
At YBL, one of the phrases we like to use is “a friend in the marketplace”. While the term “friend” has been diminished in the era of Facebook, where people claim 1000 friends, that abuse in no way changes our real need. We all know the difference between someone who calls themselves a friend and someone who is there for us when we are in real trouble. We know it when a car breaks down. When we go to the hospital. When we lose a job or family member. We find our real friends at moments like that. Not only do we hope to have real friends, but we need real friends who point us to God and remind us to have our hope in Him.
That is the mission of YBL— to help create the conditions where real friendships can be formed. We then work to love those around us and together learn to follow Jesus. If we do, we will help each other find strength in God.