21 Days of Hope - Day 17 - Hope Friends
“Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.” (I Samuel 23:16)
We talked in our last devotion about how hope is contagious. One of the main ways hope comes to us is through people in relationships. People spark and add to the fire of hope in others. “Hope friends” are such a key part of this. If we are going to walk in the level of hope that God wants us to walk through this crisis in, we need to have and be a friend to each other in a way that reinforces the hope that we are receiving from God.
In the Bible Jonathan and David’s relationship is one of the best examples of this. Their relationship beautifully illustrates what Proverbs 17:17 talks about. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” This is illustrated in David and Jonathan’s relationship and it something I want to challenge all of us to prioritize in investing in.
In I Samuel 23 we read about an encounter between David and Jonathan. Jonathan was Saul’s son who was out to kill David because he saw him as a threat to his throne. Jonathan who could’ve been threatened by David’s gifts since he was the expected heir to that throne, followed a higher instinct; one of loyalty and empathy for his friend. He went out of his way to make a covenant commitment to David and to stand side by side emotionally and spiritually as well as physically in David’s time of greatest need. He risked everything to get in David’s “foxhole” with him. He sparked and built up the fire of hope in David. When Jonathan died later David reciprocated by taking care of Jonathan’s family.
It is an incredible gift to have a friend who has truly made it their agenda in life to strengthen you and help lift you up to your greatest potential. We see just a couple of things about how Jonathan sparked hope.
1.He took the initiative to go to David at great risk. He didn’t just say, “call if you need me.” He took responsibility to reach out.
2.He went to the woods representing an isolated place and time to carry David’s burden.
Empathy is one of the most powerful gifts we give to create hope. An old Bedouin Proverb says, “A friend is someone you can pour out all of the contents of your heart, both the wheat and the chaff; knowing that they will carefully keep the wheat and with the breath of kindness blow away the chaff.” In other words, they are a safe place and person with your secrets and sorrows.
3.They strengthen your hand in the Lord. They call out the best with you, challenging and disputing your doubts and fears and letting you know they are betting the farm on you to make it and become all you can be. They creatively and relentlessly encourage you. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I can’t help but think of my mom and how I still today stand on her shoulders in so many ways. She was the most relentless encourager I have ever known. It was based on unconditional love. I will never forget the creative ways she always found to encourage me. One humorous incident happened when I was learning to preach and really just bombed in a sermon I gave. Since I knew she wouldn’t lie but would encourage me I asked her what she thought. I remember her looking at me with a bit of a pained look like she was praying to God for wisdom. She finally said, “Well Dale at least you showed up and I’m so proud of you for that!”
Please find a way to go take a friend some hope today!
To watch a short video on the subject, please go to: shorturl.at/esFLU