Ever have a moment when a story from the Bible really hit home? Most recently, this happened while reading 1 Samuel 18-20, where one finds a story of friendship. The two friends are David and Jonathan. This friendship is not without its trials, however, unless you want to overlook the fact that Jonathan's father was trying to kill David. Add to that (as if that weren't enough), David spent a lot of his time in hiding so the two friends weren't exactly going out and grabbing a burger together like friends usually would.
There were so many obstacles, one wonders how or why a great bond remained between the two. Apparently, there is something to learn from these two men and their friendship...I cannot imagine that there would be 3 chapters devoted to sharing their story if there wasn't.
If you Google "David and Jonathan" you will find a plethera of links and ideas and thoughts on their story. Trust me, I did and you will. Want to read the commentators, feel free. Want to read how God used this story to encourage me, then keep reading. This post is from my heart...what God impressed upon me as I read His active, living Word.
A shepherd and a king's son...friends? And, not just acquaintences, real friends. With God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27) Thinking of some of my closest friends, I wonder how we managed to find enough in common to become friends, too. The bottom line for me, it was always God bringing us together in the first place. Sometimes, thousands of miles were crossed by one or both of us which led to us meeting and sharing experiences together. Sometimes, it is just that we ended up doing the same thing at the same time and a friendship developed because of it. Backgrounds, personalities, likes/dislikes...somehow, God uses all those factors in each of us to make the other person more complete. Friendship requires giving and taking...and a whole lot of work inbetween. If I am open to the idea that someone else can help me become a better person, then, yes, differences can be effective in a friendship.
I do not know what began the friendship between Jonathan and David, but right off in chapter 18, it says "Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself." Friendship requires sacrifice. I give of myself for someone else. It's not all about me anymore (not all the time anyway). An exchange of words...thoughts...belongings...dreams...takes place and it happens because I want it to happen not because I am told it has to happen. Sharing is required to develop a true friendship.
What else can we find in David and Jonathan's friendship? Loyalty, dedication, devotion, love, protection, direction...you'll find these plus a few others if you pay close enough attention. Patience and understanding had a part to play, here, too. David's hiding out from Jonathan's father for who really knows how long. Not exactly perfect conditions for friends to hang out together. Getting to see his friend, the king's son, was going to take some doing. When they did get to see each other, catching up was focused on the best way for David to stay alive. How precious those moments must have been, though...and how fast they must have gone by for the friends. Time together was worth the risks for the both of them.
Jonathan and David were committed to each other. They had to be or the friendship would not have endured. Too many obstacles were in their way...separation, conspiracy, a jealous/angry father, death threats...for an ordinary acquaintance to become anything more. However it was that their friendship began, it solidified early on and had what it takes to make it through even the worst of circumstances. We all need a friendship like this in our lives.
I am reminded through God's Word of how a friendship is meant to be. I am challenged to make myself more dedicated to my friends and work harder at keeping it real. Most of all I am encouraged that, no matter the obstacles...miles, oceans, or other people...a true friend will remain through (and in spite of) them all.
I pray I am this kind of friend.