Having a good friend

“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

I speak to those who suffer as one who has also suffered. Concerning my reputation, financial matters, health and family issues I have learned to live with less. However one matter that has been reinforced in my life through all the different scenes that have passed before me is that while friends are very important in times of trial, faith in the Lord must be primary.

When I was recovering from cancer surgery I started a long series of visits to Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. They lasted for many years. Each and every time I went to the clinic at the hospital I had a friend who would plan to call on customers near the hospital that day. He then showed up at the clinic to sit with me and have a coffee after my examination. He drove for an hour or more just to be there and he never failed to be with me.

He did not wish me to be alone in case I came out of the examination room with a bad report. I can never forget his love shown in such a faithful manner. Other friends believed in me when some doubted my integrity. Some people shunned me and never contacted me again. I thought they were good friends but alas when trouble came, they left.

We all do and should value good friendships. We need to be there for our friends who are suffering and cheer them on in the marathon of life. We have all had “fair-weather friends” who are there when the weather is good but when a storm comes up they desert us. Determine never to be such to your friends and do not fret when someone leaves your company when you have difficulties.

I have much opportunity to seek to be a friend to people who are having surgery for various issues. I try to get to the surgical reception prior to the individual and their spouse coming to check in. I want them to see a familiar and compassionate face in a strange place.

I usually stay with the patient until a few moments before surgery. I like to give them some time alone with their attending loved one before they are taken off for the operation. While with them I will remind them that the Good Shepherd will be going with them down the corridors to the OR. I say that Jesus will precede them in to the operating room and be there all the time they are asleep. He loves His people and watches over them very carefully all through life and its twists and turns.

So many people have commented after their surgery that the thought of Jesus walking ahead of them into OR was so helpful. Our Scripture reminds us that there is a friend who will stay closer than a relative. Relatives must say good bye to us when we move into certain situations like the operating room or the examination room of the hospital. But Jesus is there all the time.

Jesus tells us in John 10 that He walks ahead of His sheep all through life. He checks things out and makes sure His followers can walk that way. But it is for the sheep that Jesus is so tenderly concerned. He says that His sheep hear His voice and they follow Him. You may need to ask yourself if you hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and do you follow Him? If you do not hear His voice nor follow Him you do not have Him as the Friend who stays closer than a brother.

Why not seek Him now if you are not one of His? He gently calls for each one of us to come to Him and ask for the forgiveness He alone can provide. His call is sincere, He turns no one away. If you have heard His call and follow Him be forever thankful for a Friend who stays closer than a brother.

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