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In all kinds of weather….

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17

I love this verse. I’m an only child, so I have always really valued friendships deeply. I may not have a biological brother or sister, but I certainly have friends who I consider to be my brother or my sisters, and you’ll hear me refer to them as that.

This verse reminds us that a friend is someone that hangs on with you through the tough times. They are the ones that listen to you rant, pig out on ice cream when you cry, and pick you up and hug you when you need to remember that you are loved. This is the friend I want to be. The friend people know will be there when times aren’t great, the one that will show grace when they have fallen short of the goal, the one who will love them unconditionally as Christ loves us.

I have always loved this verse, but something happened that caused me to see it from a new perspective.

We have all known “fair weather friends”, those people who are great to hang out with but once something goes wrong they are suddenly really busy, but have you ever known a “foul weather friend”? I do. This friend is great in time of crisis, they are among the most giving, generous people you will ever meet. You need something, they are there, but the funny thing is, that is the only time they are there. They never ask how you are normally, how your vacation was, you can tell them good news and they just say “oh, that’s nice.” They only really care about you in a crisis. And this is just as bad as a “fair weather friend”, we just don’t think about it.

It was in thinking about this friend that I realized something. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity”, those are two separate statements, but how often do we think of it as just one? “A friend loves at all times…” Does that mean that we stay by a friend in a time of need? Yes, but that isn’t what it says, it says “ALL times.” The responsibility of a friend isn’t defined by adversity alone, but by the equal responsibility to share in times of happiness. This seems so simple, how can you not be happy for a friend? For some people, like my “foul weather friend”, it can be hard, but what about for the rest of us? You would never listen to a friend’s tragedy and try to “out do” them (hopefully). But have you ever listened to a friend’s good news and then gone off on what happened to you?

Like most things God wants from us in life, it’s about balance. It’s not about one or the other, but being there for the whole. Being there for only fair or foul weather isn’t enough, like most things God commands, it requires “all”.

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2 Responses

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  1. Andy said

    I have friends I only ever hear from when they are down. Does that make me a “foul-weather friend”?

  2. I don’t think so. Not as I have known you. They may reach out to you more when they are having a crisis, but that isn’t necessarily a reflection on you. My point was that we need to remember to listen and give attention to it all, not just the venting and frustrations, but the celebrations and fun as well. Sometimes we emphasize the importance of “Being there when it counts” without being there just to be there, it all counts. I catch myself doing it all the time. Heck, even today I told someone that the unwritten rule of best friends is having their favorite flavor of ice cream on hand just in case of a bad day. Why not have the same ice cream on hand to celebrate a good day at work? Just a small change in perspective. As for your friends that only call when they are down, maybe give them a call first and talk to them just because. 🙂

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