Saturday, December 04, 2004

Fair weather friends: Job 6:14-23

"for the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend; so that he does not forsake the fear of the Almighty" (Job 6:14) Job describes his friends as a wadi. A wadi is a river that flows during the rainy season, but soon dries up until the next season. Job talks about the disappointment of those who, traveling long distances, come to the wadi, hoping to find water, only to find it dry. Job had hoped to find some kindness from his friends and, for a while he did. For the first seven days of their silence, Job received the kindness of his friends. But their kindness soon dried up like a wadi. They began to speak and criticize Job. He needed their kindness but instead got their judgment.

The problem was not so much their lack of concern as it was their lack of patience. For a while they grieved with Job, but now there were ready to move on. None of us like to walk in the valleys. We live for the mountain top experiences. But sometimes compassion requires us to walk with others as they go through the valleys. Many of us do not have the patience to walk with them there. We want to get back to the mountains. Our impatience can cause us to try and "hurry them along" so we can get back to our blessed lives. It painful when we go through the valleys, but sometimes Jesus calls us to bear that pain of others as they pass through the valleys of life.

King Solomon put it this way, "A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity." (Proverbs 17:17) When you are on top of your game, everyone wants to be your friend. But when hard times come, you find out who your true friends are. I've seen this in relationships, in business, and even in the church. When someone is succeeding, the have an ample supply of people wanting to be their friend. But when success turns to struggle, many so called friends turn on them. You hear things like, "I always knew something like this was going to happen" and "They should have taken my advice then none of this would have happened."

Friends, true friends, love at all times and they are a gift from God to us to help and aid us in times of adversity. Do you want to know who your true friends are? After God has brought you through some difficult time, and after the dust has settled, look around. Those still standing with you are your friends. Let us be true friends to each other, not fair weather friends.

David Robison

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