A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Prov. 17:17
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Prov. 18:24
Dear Lord Jesus, these Scriptures make us immediately think about you. For there’s no question about your commitment to love us well in every season of life. You will never leave us or forsake us, and there’s no ebbing or flowing with your compassion. You stick much closer than a brother, because you’re so much more than a brother.
You humbled yourself to become a spouse to us—the bridegroom who died to make rebels, fools, and idolaters like us your cherished wife. What wondrous love is this, indeed!
Your lavish, constant affection should spell the end of all our poutings and pity-parties, all our whinings and worry-fests. It should also radically affect how we relate to our friends. I come before you today convinced of your love and therefore convicted about the way I relate to my friends, especially those who are in various stories and stages of adversity. I’ve been too busy even to pray for them. That’s a confession of sin, not an excuse or an alibi.
I repent, and I bring before your throne of grace a friend who is stuck in the throes of a grace-less, kind-less marriage. His heart is treading water in the Bermuda triangle of hopelessness, rage and numbness. Show me how to love him well. I need wisdom and courage, to both confront and console him. O God of resurrection, bring the power of the gospel to bear. And give his wife hope than men can change—that her husband can change. Please redeem this marriage for your glory.
I pray for another friend who’s suffered sequential betrayals and losses, as a shepherd of your people. He’s beyond being angry, and he doesn’t have many tears left. He loves you as only a broken man filled with the gospel can, but Jesus, he needs relief. His willingness to trust and hope is gone. How much is too much? How much more can this one brother sustain? It is one thing to be brokenhearted, but he is nearly broken down. Please intervene, Jesus.
Gracious Lord, give us fire and faith, for loving as all-weather friends. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love (Gal. 5:6). So what is the next right thing to do, for our friends? Do we get in our cars, buy an airline ticket, call up, show up? How can we best come alongside of our hurting friends? Show us, Jesus; lead us. Being too busy, to love as you love us, is simply not an option. So very Amen we pray in your faithful and compassionate name.