Has anyone else ever decided: “I can do this on my own, I have all the skills and all the experience I need,” only to fall flat on their faces in abject failure? And then having failed, become even less thrilled with the response from our friends?
Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far off. —Proverbs 27:9-10, KJV
It would appear the objective of finding a friend in our day of “calamity” depends on finding one we can lean on when the world or circumstances get the best of us. And even more importantly, a friend we can count on to hold our grief, frustration, disappointment or even anger, without being judgmental or dismissive of our need to be heard.
Unfortunately, just being another Christian brother or sister isn’t enough to create that bond of surety and understanding. The need to build a relationship one day at a time, one experience at a time, is often the key to being able to find those people who are mentioned in the Scripture above. The person in the Scripture is closer than a brother and more than simply willing to put up with being a sounding board.
The person safe enough to share our biggest hurts, greatest joy, and the everyday minutiae is not an overnight creation.
It takes time to find the people who won’t use those revelations as weapons against us. It takes time to be certain those we share our feelings with are going to be trustworthy across in the long term, not just for today and tomorrow.
A good friend is one we can count on when the tough times are on us and one we can count on to be glad for us when we are score a big promotion, get a new job or succeed at whatever is important to us.
While even the best of friends is capable of failing to hold the line, and be completely 100 percent trustworthy, it’s important to note how badly they fail. Are they simply trying to add a little humor to an otherwise stressful situation, and in so doing, did they miss the mark?
Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. —Psalms 41:9, KJV
Has the friend in question been able to offer wise counsel in the past? If they were able to offer counsel which was sound in a previous situation, that isn’t really a guarantee of success forever and ever. It does mean they might have an understanding, of who we are, and our motivations, or at least our inclinations though.
Friendship with like minded Christian brothers or sisters is a blessing and a comfort we all need at some point when problems or emotional pain land in our lap. That friendship based on the common bond of a belief in the absolute lordship of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is tantamount to acknowledging that we as humans in the flesh don’t have all the answers.
As Christians, we’re able to lean on our Christian friends for support, counsel, guidance or just simple understanding, when we’re wounded. However, in the final analysis, there is One Counselor who will never fail us, One Lord who will always be available and who will never turn away from us.
For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. —Psalms 31:13-15, KJV