What does it take to be a good friend? What is it worth to have one?
These questions arise, and are answered, in an odd scene in the life of Israel's King Saul. Chosen by God, he was favored for quite some time until his own disobedience caught up to him and stripped him of God's anointing over his life. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him when he prophesied to begin his kingship, but after his disobedience...nothing. The Spirit of the Lord was replaced by a spirit of torment (also sent by the Lord, though far less pleasant and less easily-recognized as God, particularly as a desirable God).
And it was at this point that Saul met David. For one of his servants said to him, I know a man who has the Spirit of God in him. We should bring him here and let him hang out with you.
So that's what they did, and so began one of the strangest, most volatile on-again, off-again friendships in all of Scripture, but it's an important one for understanding what it is that we need to look for in our friends.
Essentially, the Spirit of God.
Because there will come times in our life when we are separated from God, for one reason or another. There will be times when the Lord who seemed so close now seems so far and it's almost impossible for us to connect to Him. There will be times when we who once felt so blessed now feel so degraded, discarded. When we who were loved feel unloved. When we who had the Spirit of the Lord dancing in our hearts now find it replaced by a spirit of torment. Or depression. Or disease. Or dis-ease. Or...name your battle here; you're going to have one.
And at times like these, there is nothing like a good friend. But what makes a good friend? It's someone who can bring us back in touch with the Spirit that we've lost. It's someone who's still holding onto what we've let go of. It's someone with open hands for our clenched fists.
It's someone who makes beautiful music against the backdrop of our own dischord (intentionally misspelled for effect).
That's what David was for Saul. When the Spirit of the Lord left him, he found someone who still had it and brought him close. When he stopped dancing in prophesy, he found someone who made music to stir his soul. When he lost everything that mattered to the depths of his being, he found someone who still had it. That's a good friend.
Are you blessed with good friends in your life? Has God sent to you those who remind you how near He is, even in those times when He feels so far away?
Are you a good friend in someone else's life? Do you hold out the same hope of life for them as David did for Saul? Do you remind them how near God is when He seems so distant?