“One with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
There seems to be this false belief in our culture that we have to have a lot of friends. But that isn’t true, we have to the right friends. The friends that will be there for you in the middle of the night. It’s the small group of people in your life that know you best. The people who invest in you and you in them. If you don’t have a small group, you need one. A great place to find one is your local church.
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California, lost his youngest son to suicide five days after Easter in 2015. In a poignant article titled “My Son’s Suicide and God’s Garden of Grace” he describes the days leading up to the event, the event itself and the aftermath. It struck me that within 30 minutes of discovering what had happened his small group were there with him and his wife. They spent the night with them at their house. He said, “The deeper the pain, the fewer words needed.” His small group knew that truth, they didn’t come with words, they came with hugs and companionship. That is the type of friendships we need to develop in our lives.
Dark days will come for all of us, God tells us this in His word: “I have told you these things so you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). I wish this wasn’t a truth of life, but it is. The choice is who you will have to help you through them.
Rick Warren knew who sticks closer than a brother. It’s Jesus. He goes on to tell in the article how he took a four month grief sabbatical. During that time, he spent it with Jesus. His words describe that period of time best:
“You can’t spend four months alone in reflection, in the Bible, with scripture and with Jesus and it not change you, deepen you and sensitise you to the pain of other people.”
If we are to find purpose in our pain, we need Jesus to show us the way. He gives us friends here on earth to help us through the dark days. He is the one whose opinion we should seek over all others. He sticks closer than a brother