"What a friend we have in Jesus!" It's a great old hymn. A reminder to us of all that Jesus did for us to reconcile us to God, and why He is, as Proverbs tells us, "a friend who stays closer than a brother".
However, it is also important for us to have earthly friends. Solomon, the one who wrote the book of Proverbs, also wrote the book of Ecclesiastes where he penned these words,
"Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken." --Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
It's a great reminder that we are not designed to go this life alone. Let's look at what a friend does for you.
1. They lift you up when you fall. This can be literally falling down and scraping your knee, but I also think that Solomon was talking about falling down in our faith. They can help you come to your senses and come back to Jesus. "But pity the one who falls without another to lift him up." We need those who bring us back. We are in a bad place if we don't.
2. They help you stay warm. Now in Solomon's day this was even more important than today as they didn't have electric blankets and forced air heat. Not to mention that those who went to battle slept on the hard cold ground or in tents and needed the body heat of others to stay warm. But again I think we can take this to mean surviving in this cold world that we live in. This can be an extremely cold and uncaring place that we live in, and it can make our faith, hope, joy, and love grow cold to try and go it alone. We can't keep "warm" on our own.
3. They help you to resist those which overpower. Again Solomon was speaking of a fight where your friend has your back and helps you resist those who would overpower you, but I think he also is meaning that a friend helps us to resist those which seek to overpower us spiritually. On our own temptation can be overpowering. We give in because we try to stand alone, but with a friend at our side we can resist. That is why there is such an emphasis today on having accountability partners. Maybe a better phrase is "a good friend".
So today be thankful for your friends. In this time of separation find ways to stay connected. Times of falling, being cold, and being overpowered don't take a break, therefore keep your "cord of three strands" close. Write a letter, send an email, make a phone call, snap them, messenger them, whatever it takes. Let them know that you are still here for them and want to continue to lift them up, keep them warm, and help them resist. And remind them of that friend who is closer than a brother.
Today may be the day they need you.