For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Ecclesiastes 4:10
You will fall. Your fall may happen through no fault of your own. You may fall because of some stupid thing you did. When you fall, initially the pain source is no different. It all hurts.
Years ago, I was getting dressed and was almost finished. Harry and I were in Pennsylvania at my mother’s and we were almost ready to leave. I was in my childhood bedroom and twisted my ankle. I knew I was hurt seriously. Before I called out – I had to catch my breath – I looked at the radiator that I narrowly missed and thought this could be worse. My husband came up one staircase and my brother Bobby came up the other, arriving at about the same time. I needed both of them to get to my feet. My shoulder broke beyond repair. One man helped me up and the other kept my arm from moving so that pain would be minimized. My left shoulder today is titanium and both these men are gone. They helped me up when I fell.
The verse does not necessarily speak of literal, physical falls but the verse paints a word picture. When someone takes a physical spill, often strangers will rally to help. This is not so when you have an emotional spill. Others may not recognize your need for help and others just won’t want to get involved.
A story of friendship from Exodus 17:10-12: So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
Now, THAT is friendship and God clearly used that friendship in visible ways that show the value and power of friendship. Friendship is obviously important to God. It is a precious thing; I often think of the great kindness in Jesus choosing to call us friends.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. John 15:15
Is that not beautiful? He gives us His friendship, then clarifies His part in the the relationship. Jesus Christ, God, our Creator makes Himself available to be be known. And He wants to be our friend. He has made that effort. That is one of “those verses” that we can spend some time thinking about and should be deeply touched by.
It may seem that some people make friends more easily than others. I believe there is truth in this, but the most naturally personable person will not have lasting relationships without an investment. Their winning personality will eventually be recognized for what it is, a shell. I would go one step further. This person has used their God-given ability to attract people, then squandered it. We do not take time to analyze people like this on a daily basis; that would be shallow but it is good to be aware. Clichés exist to describe people like this, a taker being one of them.
We want friends without selfish motives. We understand and aspire to this: A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24. And so, we are friendly. Making friends is not a real scientific process, but there are principles. This verse teaches us that the most necessary thing is to be friendly.
The life that I have led means that I have far more friendships than I deserve. It is impossible to be in communication with each friend – every day. I do not expect these friends to contact me at any given time. Friendships should avoid being obligatory, for that is the time they lose special qualities of friendship.
Most days, I have contact with several friends. Considering yesterday as an example, the people I communicated with:
- Some back and forth with my sister, though we failed to actually talk.
- Sporadic texting with a couple of friends, including one sending me pictures of her beautiful tablescape because she knew I’d love it. I did!
- I sent 2 notes to people in the morning, and an email to another.
- I texted with my sons-in-law. Lucky guys!
- Same with my daughters.
- a face-to-face visit with a friend.
- A brief telephone call.
- And one that wasn’t so brief.
And yes, family counts as friends! They should be best!
Without any really effort, I communicated with a dozen friends in brief, but meaningful ways. Today, Friday, I have had minimal contact with anyone, but I am considering driving to a church that has been part of our family ministry this evening. They are having a movie night and I may join them. It would be easier to stay home but these are friends. Likely, it will be a good memory and a good movie. Bonds of friendship will be strengthened.
In closing, I want to refute something that you may think about me. I’ve been told that I make friends easily and that this is natural. It is not. By nature, I tend to be a loner; it is my default and I can be comfortable alone, but I want being alone to be my choice. If we do not invest our lives in others, a time will come that we are lonely and it may be the fruit of a misspent life.
I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for their tolerance of my less than stellar moments. I am thankful for they see the best in me. I am thankful for moments of extreme laughter and silliness, usually when appropriate. I am thankful for they give me fresh perspective. I am thankful for my friends when I am struggling, for they give me space and I am thankful for their grace.