I don’t know of a greater friendship in the Bible than that of David and Jonathan. I Samuel 18 says their souls were knit together. Jonathan knew he was next in line to be king, but also knew that God had anointed David for that role. He gladly gave up his rights to the throne for his friend. His loyalty was to what God wanted and not what he was entitled to, and it showed in his actions.
When Saul was desperately trying to kill David, Jonathan would warn him. He helped David escape. On one such occasion in I Samuel 23, Saul was trying to find him, but God hid David. In verse 16 it says, “Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God” (NLT). To me, that’s what real friends do. They go to their friend in need and encourage them to trust God and to stay strong in their faith.
David didn’t have to tell Jonathan he was tired of living in caves, constantly having to hide, or that he was hungry. He didn’t have to tell him that he was doubting that God knew his situation and was telling God to wake up. As a friend, Jonathan proactively went to David and encouraged him. He prayed for him and stood by him in the struggle even if it meant his own father would kill him. He didn’t care about the consequences to his own life.
I would venture to say that many of us don’t have a friend like that and aren’t willing to go to that extreme for someone. However, each one of us can encourage another friend to stay strong in their faith. Each one of us can go to someone in need to stand in the gap for them and to pray for them when they don’t have the strength or faith to do it themselves. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity” (AMP). Be like Jonathan and love your friends in the good times and in the bad. Be there for them in adversity and encourage them when they’re weak. God will honor you if you do.