Best Friends Forever
The story of David and Jonathan, is an interesting one. On paper, they should have hated one another: David was successful, handsome and gifted. He had muscled in quite successfully into Jonathan's father's royal court, a poor shepherd boy who had, apparently got lucky with a stone and a sling. Jonathan, was the heir apparent, son of the king and so, he might have been wary of this upstart. But that was not the case.
Sometimes, you meet someone, and you just get on. Perhaps it was the same for David and Jonathan? They became close friends very quickly - we know this, because in 1Samuel 18:3 it says that Johnathan loved David as much as he loved himself. It must have been quite brilliant to have someone that David could trust, so close to him in what was initially a very strange environment.
So when King Saul became jealous of David's success, a jealousy which rapidly descended into pure hatred, Jonathan's friendship and loyalty became vital to David's very survival. Which made me wonder about the kind of relationship Jonathan had with his father. It seems that Jonathan did love his dad, but he can't have seen him as much of a role model, perhaps he saw through Saul. Jonathan's faith in God may have shown him that jealousy and murder are not the best ways in which to get ahead.
Jonathan, eventually, had to make a choice - protect his friend or honour his father. Some how, he managed to do both. Painful as it must have been, Jonathan sent David away; it was the only way he knew to keep his friend safe. I don't know why he didn't follow David, instead he chose to stay with his father. That decision, ultimately led to Jonathan's death, at the hands of his enemies.
But there is a lot to be said about the qualities of Jonathan's friendship: loyal, loving, kind, wise and built on the foundation of knowing God. Just like Jonathan, God wants the best for us. We have a choice, to know him as our friend. It was Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice for us that we might be known as friends of God.
Friendship, good relationships, true friendships, go beyond our own limitations. Love does not know barriers and it can help us form the most unlikely alliances. Though lockdown has separated us from some of the ones we usually know, it's opened other doors to get to know people we would not have associated with. Whether that is neighbours we didn't speak to, or vulnerable individuals we may have previously ignored. Even within our church community, new friendships have formed - FTUK has brought families together from different places. It's been good to get to know each other, to support and pray together.
Our relationship with God may have changed too - perhaps we've had to work harder to find him, or maybe he's been closer without much of the clutter and business of our pre covid lives. My prayer is that despite the barriers we may feel, that friendships which have changed might be renewed and we may discover that we can really depend on God, no matter what our circumstances are.
"Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you."
And as we go through this week, we hope that you'll have another look at the friendship arrows we made, and consider how you might use those qualities to engage in friendships which have lapsed or have become distant. Pray for them, ask God to help you find ways to renew and strengthen your relationships. But be warned, God may surprise you - he may not ask you to be quite like Jonathan, but you never know where prayer might lead you!