Throughout our lives we make many friends. There are the friends you make when you first start Pre-School. Or, if you don't go to Pre-School, the friends you make as you enter Grade 1. These friends you make early in your life may stick by you for the rest of your life. On the other hand, you may lose contact or your friendship over time.
Human beings are not the only type of friend you may have in your life. There is "man's best friend." The popular term "man's best friend", is thought to have been made popular in the 1800s in Missouri. Two neighbours went to court fighting over a neighbourly dispute. One of the neighbour's dogs was shot by the other neighbour's hired hand because of dead livestock.
Their dispute ended up in court, where the neighbour whose dog was shot was suing his neighbour for killing it. In the closing arguments of the case, the Plaintiff's team used a speech where the term "man's best friend" comes from. An excerpt from the speech is as follows:
"The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy…The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog…Gentlemen of the jury, a man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness."
The nature of friendship
The speech gives the impression that we can only put our trust in animals to be our best friend; they will stand by us in every situation we face. Yes, our relationship with our pets can become like friendship.
However, true friendship comes in a different form, a quote from Bernard Meltzer suggests. He says, "A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked."
Sometimes in life, we can forget that we already have a best friend; one that isn't an animal or walking on earth. That's not to say we can't have pets and appreciate their friendship. During those times in our lives when we feel as though no one cares, or don't feel the love or support we need, who do we turn to? We can't turn to our dog asking for advice and expect to hear an audible voice come out of its' mouth. We can however, pray and find comfort there.
The hymn "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" reminds us that in times of trouble, we can turn to Jesus. Lyrics of the hymn go "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grieves to bear. What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer."
Friendship that assured
If we experience times of trouble, we can come to God and He will guide us through that time. A pet dog cannot. Sure, they can look at you with big eyes, and wag their tail. But at the end of the day, they aren't able to understand your problems, or help you.
Just as some friends in life may walk away from you, or hurt you, there is one that will never leave you. Nahum 1:7 reminds us that, "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him." Isn't it great to know there is someone who cares for us when we are in trouble?
Furthermore, John 16:33 says, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
We cannot go through life without relying on friends for support, even our friend in heaven. As John Lennon famously said, "I get by with a little help from my friends." Is this true in your life?
Natalie Van Egmond from Brisbane and a journalism graduate.
Natalie Van Egmond's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/natalie-van-egmond.html