A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
This past week we had a trip planned to Louisville, mainly for the purpose of hunting, with a few stops scheduled along the way with friends. As often happens in life, a series of events arose that erased the hunting aspect of the trip and, as seemed prudent given the price of gas and the inconvenience of ten hours worth of driving, I kind of made up my mind that we’d cancel the trip.
When I told one of my friends that I wouldn’t be able to come, he expressed his disappointment and how much he had looked forward to the visit. I thought about it on the way to work, and as I often do while crossing the bridge and staring down the glistening currents of the Illinois River, I thought about my friend Davin. I don’t know why, but there are certain places that bring him to mind, and for me the river is one of them. I think it reminds me of Louisville, the city on the river, which in turn reminds me of him.
There is a particular moral excellency in Davin that I delight in and love to ponder: his devotion as a friend. You hear it in the way his friends talk about him after he died, how they cherish above many other things his dedication to them in less than appealing circumstances and failings. Like the proverb says, he stuck with you when you needed him most, maybe even closer than your own blood.
For me, Davin’s real life, flesh-and-blood friendship—the one I see written in the lives of those with whom he stuck so closely—is a proclamation of the reality of Christ in the present. So many times when the gospel seems like a distant story I can’t relate to and the world feels cold and lifeless, Davin brings me back. Like Thomas, he gives me something of the gospel to touch and feel.
As I thought about it, I decided to go to Louisville anyway. Adversity, it turns out, is an opportunity to be the kind of friend who sticks closer than a brother. It is the opportunity for sacrifice, which is a demonstration of true friendship. I decided that I want my friends to know: this is how much you mean to me. You alone were worth the trip. I want to be the kind of friend Davin was, because Christ was.
Our friends, our church, they were worth the trip. I’m grateful that God used Davin to wake me up and see that. It’s forced me to ask some hard questions. What about you; are you that kind of friend? Do your friends know how far you’d go to stick with them in adversity? Are you like me oftentimes, so lost in your own world that you never really think of others? How can you be a friend today?