Devotional: November 4, 2020
Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.
Proverbs 17: 17 The Message
In a world of change and adversity, the love of a true friend is a great comfort. The author of Proverbs speaks about how friends ought to love through all kinds of weather, including rain, hail, thunderstorms, and blizzards. Yet the unwritten implication is that there are “friends” (intentionally put into quotes) who will abandon you at the first sign of rain.
One thinks of the Prodigal son who runs off to a foreign land, flush with cash from his father. As long as times are good, and he has plenty of money, he is surrounded by friends. Yet a famine arises in the land, and the “friends” disappear. The prodigal, who had been living high on the hog, is forced to take a job feeding hogs! This would have been the worst job possible for Jews, for they were raised to avoid pork at all costs.
It is very likely that this verse from Proverbs is the origin of the term, “fair weather friends.” These are friends who are with you when the skies are blue, the breezes are gentle, and the sun is shining. Yet when the weather turns, these friends disappear.
A true friend will not abandon you in tough times. They will stand by you, and be with you in the storms of life. That is why we talk about friends who are with us “through thick and thin.” The implication is that their friendship is so deep and long-lasting that it is not subject to the whims of the prevailing winds.
Ideally, family members will remain connected during the tough times. As we all know, sometimes they do not. A family may fracture and break apart under the strain of life or a particularly stressful situation. Sometimes, circumstances like domestic violence dictate that a family not stay together. Yet here, the author of Proverbs is reminding us to do everything we can to be first faithful to the Lord, and then to be faithful to the Lord’s desire for family unity. With God’s help, most families can exhibit steadfast love, and persevere through the tough times in life.
Often, one’s church family acts as a second family in helping us weather the storms of life. Most of the time, I, as the preacher, believe that the most important thing that happens on Sunday mornings is when we share praises and prayer concerns. Supporting one another, and being there during the tough times: that is one of the many blessings of being a part of a church family.
My hope is that when you face tough times in your life, and we all do, you will be able to lean on friends and family to get you through. Their love and support during the stormy times makes all the difference. Let us also commit ourselves to supporting those who are going through a tough time right now. You may never know how much of a difference your love and support will make to a friend walking through a valley. Your love could literally save someone’s life… Therefore, let us endeavor to love one another, regardless of the weather!
Thank you, Lord, for the people You place in my life who are present through both the stormy and serene days. Help me to be that true friend who helps others weather difficult times. Let us cherish times of joy. May those who are seeking the companionship of family and friends be blessed. Let them also be a blessing to others. Ultimately, thank You, Lord, for befriending me in a way which surpasses all human comprehension. Thank you for Your constant companionship in my life.
I pray this prayer in the blessed name of Your son, Jesus Christ. Amen