When we have friends, we do our best to support them in their struggles and rejoice with them when they celebrate success. Sometimes, however, it can seem as though your friends have disappointed you and you seem to be the only one making an effort.
Friendship is a bond formed with time and through mutual experience. If most of your friendships have formed casually, without the covenant needed to make an emotional agreement and attachment, it may sometimes feel as though you are losing more friends than you gain — but are these people really your friends, or just acquaintances? There is a major difference.
Friends such as David and Jonathan who faced all life had to offer together, and who made a covenant before God and each other to cherish and love each other more than themselves, had a true basis for friendship.
Time and time again, they returned to each other's sides to give support, including when David lamented his friend's passing. When you have had a friend for many years, it's difficult to disappoint each other because you know each other's lives and thoughts intimately, and you know that you can count on each other should the need arise.
If friends disappoint you, ask yourself this: have I done all I can to cherish this friendship? Can I honestly say that I have made a sincere effort, or have I always asked of others and not given support and love to my friends?
Of course, there are times when you may need more from your friends: during health issues, the loss of a friend or loved one or other trials. It's then that you find who your true friends are and who is just "a friend in need." But there are also times when your friends must ask more of you, and it's then that you can prove yourself a staunch and trustworthy ally and friend.
No one in the Bible had more to say about losing his friends and feeling alone than Job. He pours forth his trials and the woes that God has bestowed on him,
My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God. Oh that one may plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth with his neighbour! —Job 16: 20-21, KJV
How many times have we prayed to God for relief, for help, when our friends have gone about with their own lives and when they seem to have so little regard for us? Sometimes, we simply haven't asked for their help, expecting them to read our minds or know us so well that we shouldn't have to ask for assistance!
Often, friends simply don't know how desperate you are until you confide in them. It's difficult to humble yourself and let others into your life when times are tough but unless you open up to your friends, they won't even know that you need help.
Job continues his cries in the next few verses of chapter 19:
My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. —Job 19:14, KJV
All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. —Job 19:19, KJV
Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. —Job 19:21, KJV
His family and friends, frightened or perhaps fearful of the same fate as Job, had betrayed him, forgotten and deserted him. God seemed intent upon punishing Job, who considered himself to be a righteous man. The tide turns when Job finally does the right thing and prays for his friends, God forgives him, blessing him:
And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. —Job 42:10, KJV
Jesus taught us to love one another. God expects us to think of others before we do ourselves, to pray for their blessings rather than our own. Certainly we should turn to God in times of travail, but we should also remember that our friends need concrete help as well as spiritual comfort.
To have true friends, we have to be true friends. If your friends have disappointed you, it may be a time to ask if you have done something to push them away or if there is any way that you can help them, in the name of friendship. Forgive your friends and love them even more, following God's commands and proving yourself to be the true friend.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. —Proverbs 18:24, KVJ