You don’t want them, or even look for them, but emergencies can turn up and they are always unexpected. Let’s imagine you are out on a long walk in an isolated place, where there are very few people to interrupt your thoughts, except a good companion. The kind of person you can depend on in a serious situation. In your backpack, along with your sandwiches and bottle of juice, you had the foresight to tuck in a flashlight, a whistle, mobile phone, and a very basic first aid box with bandages and plasters etc.. And then it happens!
An emergency overtakes your easy conversation and puts itself in first place. Let’s imagine you have a serious fall and can’t get on your feet. Immediately, your friend steps in and calls the air ambulance fearing your leg may have a broken bone. After the expected how and where information, the emergency dispatcher is starting to ask personal questions like, has your friend suffered any broken bones before? Is he/she allergic to any drugs? Who should we contact? In the event of this being a false call out can you give a credit card number to charge the cost of the exercise? Now ask yourself, how well do you know, and trust your friend to have all these answers?
The Bible is clear in the difference between a friend and a close confidant, or brother. Who would you trust the most in a serious faith question or issue when it pops up out of the blue? Yes, there are friends, and good friends at that, but would you feel at ease in spilling your heart out to any of them? Possibly not, and that is not to undermine their friendship. Right then and there, you need someone closer. Our verse calls that person a ‘brother’, but it can also be a ‘sister’ in the Lord. Someone you trust completely, even with the embarrassing parts of your life as you need and ask for help. Friends will love you completely, and sometimes at a distance, but this brother or sister will be with you in adversity, or times of greatest trouble.
In life we need more than a map and compass. Sometimes we need a prayer partner. That is the main difference between a friend and a confidant. Make sure you know that all important difference because you may have to call on one, and you need to get the right person whether brother or sister!
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17