“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17, NIV).
Of all the blessings that God gives to the body of Christ, one of the best is friendship. There is nothing quite like having good Christian friends.
My wife, Peggy, and I recently spent a 12-day vacation with two of our very best friends, Jim and Sherryl Ford of Sarasota, Fla.
Jim and Sherryl embodied this verse when, in the late 1980s, I contracted a strange, debilitating illness. I was at the height of my strength, physically and spiritually, when I was stricken while ministering in Eastern Europe. Our lives changed quickly and radically. I had to give up my ministry. The future looked bleak.
The nightmare lasted four years. During those most difficult years of my life, I had my share of friends who turned into Job’s comforters. We also had many good friends who stood with us in our day of trouble — none more so than Jim and Sherryl. They lived more than an hour’s drive away, yet managed to be with us on a regular basis. While others offered opinions and advice, Jim and Sherryl offered shoulders and companionship. We leaned heavily upon them. I don’t think they know how very much this meant to us. After all, they were just being friends.
Sherryl has been inspiring to us since then, as well. She has gone through both cancer and open-heart surgery with an uncomplaining, upbeat spirit that is truly amazing.
We must always be truly grateful for those friends, “born for adversity,” who stand by us when everything seems to be against us. There aren’t enough friends like these to go around.
A good friend’s support is better than a complex spiritual answer. A friend who stands quietly by your side exceeds the value of a counselor’s educated advice. Often Christians feel they have nothing to offer in someone’s hour of desperation. But you do. You don’t need to have all the answers, and you don’t even need to offer the answers you do have. A world of burdens can be lifted by a believer determined to be a good friend.
Determine to be a friend like this yourself. Somebody needs you.
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