I felt inclined to write about friendships today. Over the last two weeks, I have been able to catch up with close family friends, visit with a great neighbor, and even make new friends! And I am so blessed by each of them! I have a handful of friends that have stuck with me through the years. One friend in particular is very special to me and have nicknamed her, “My Jonathan.” If you don’t know who Jonathan is, my NIV Women’s Devotional is about to help you find out.
Read: 1 Samuel 20:1-42
1 Samuel 20:42 – Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.'” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.
A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of answers mailed in, the top five were:
5) “One who multiplies joys, divides grief, and whose honesty is inviolable.”
4) “One who understands our silence.”
3) “A volume of sympathy bound in cloth.”
2) “A watch that beats true for all time and never runs down.”
The winning definition simply read:
1) “A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”
David and Jonathan perfectly fit these definitions of a true friend. Jonathan had become “one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself,” and the two had made a covenant of friendship (1 Samuel 18:1, 3). When Samuel anointed David to succeed Jonathan’s father as king, Saul erupted in unbridled anger and forced David from the land. But Jonathan swore loyalty to God’s chosen heir to the throne.
David and Jonathan’s deep friendship was based not on family ties or warm, fuzzy feelings; they were bound by dedication to God and steadfast commitment to one another. Rather than being jealous of David for usurping his potential place as king, Jonathan accepted God’s plan to make David king, sacrificially stepping down and supporting his friend.
And David reciprocated by remaining loyal to Jonathan and Jonathan’s family. Even after Jonathan’s death, David kept his vow of loyalty to his dear friend. He made sure that Jonathan and Saul were buried with royal honors. He invited Jonathan’s disabled son, Mephibosheth, into his home and treated him like a prince.
In our culture, it seems more common to hear of women who have close friendships than men who do, so we’re surprised that one of the most beautiful portraits of friendship in Scripture is the bond between these two warriors, who we might be inclined to think of as unemotional and detached. But we, as women, can model David and Jonathan’s friendship. When our friendships are based on our common love for God and our desire for God’s best for each other, then our friendships can be as tough and true and deep as the one between David and Jonathan.
1. Which of your friends will “come in even if the world goes out”?
2. With whom do you share a covenant friendship, and how has this person shown herself to be a godly friend?
3. How has Jesus proved to be your best friend?
Related Readings: Ruth 1:3-17; Proverbs 17:17; 18:24; Ecclesiastes 4:9-10; John 3:27-30
“The impulse of love that leads us to the doorway of a friend is the voice of God within and we need not be afraid to follow it.” Agnes Sanford
What is interesting is that I didn’t lose friends over a common guy we liked as teenage girls or when we graduated from high school and scattered in different directions to follow different career paths. It wasn’t even when I married my husband or moved out of state to go to x-ray school for two years, which can easily be a precursor to a dissolved friendship. Several years ago, I told two of my closest friends about a personal weakness (which later became my testimony) in the car one afternoon on our way to have lunch. I didn’t know what was going to occur as a result of my confession. But ever since then, those two friendships were changed. One quickly wilted and fell apart. The other grew stronger and deeper than ever before. God’s grace and unconditional love was manifested through “My Jonathan” choosing to love me anyway. And it blessed me immensely.
When you think about the three reflection questions from above, also consider whose life you need to step into when the whole world has gone out and be a “Jonathan” to your friend.