A friend who sticks closer than a brother

Terror seized the heart of World War I soldier as he saw his dearest comrade fight for his life in one of the fiercest combats. Caught in a trench with shots zooming over his head, the soldier inquired from the lieutenant as to whether he may go out into the “No Man’s Land” between the trenches to bring his fallen friend back. 

“You can go,” said the lieutenant, “though I don’t think it will be smart of you to take that kind of gamble. Your friend is possibly dead and you may be caught up in this heavy gunfire. You know, you can be next.” The lieutenant’s advice didn’t make a difference, and the soldier got out of the safe zone – the trench – to try his luck at saving the bloodied comrade. Amazingly he figured out how to reach his mate, raised him onto his shoulders and took him back to their company’s trench. As both of them tumbled to the base of their trench; their safe hideout, the lieutenant examined the wounded soldier and the rescuer. They were both bleeding profusely.

“I told you it wouldn’t be worth trying to save your friend. It was not worth all this trouble,” he said. “Your colleague is dead and you are extremely hurt.” 

“It was justified, despite all the trouble, however, sir,” replied the soldier. 

“What do you mean; justified, despite all the trouble?” the lieutenant reacted. “Your friend is dead!” 

“Sure, Sir” the soldier answered. “Be that as it may, it was justified, despite all the pain because when I reached him, he was as still alive and kicking. He smiled when he saw me. And with pain written all over his face, he stammered, “Jim… , I knew you’d come.”

A friend who sticks closer than a brother

In this world, friendships come in all shapes and sizes. There is a spigot friendship that people turn on and off. There is a bogus friendship wherein folks will fake you out when you need them the most. There is a fair-weather friendship that will endure as long as the days are sunny. There are get-over and get under friends. 

These are all worldly friendships. But there a friend who tarries forever. He never leaves or vamooses. He stays in sunny and rainy days. He lingers on even when the darkness of life creeps in like a thief. And then He ushers you into eternal glory.

John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” by His substitutional death on the cross, protecting us, providing for us, forgiving us, teaching us, encouraging us, giving us His strength, taking our burdens upon Himself and much, much more. 

I love to sing part of the first verse of Joseph Scriven’s hymn, “What A Friend We Have in Jesus”: “What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry, Everything to God in pray’r!”

There is a name I love to hear, I love to sing its worth; It sounds like music in mine ear, The sweetest name on earth. Oh, how I love Jesus. Oh, how I love Jesus.

Our mission is not to get people to love us. Our task is to love people. If we want friends, then we should not try to get people to love us; rather, we should just love them. We ought to love people and show an honest interest in them. That is how we get friends. It is not easy. But we can pray to God for help. 

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 (NIV).

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