Friday, January 13

Gracious Friends

There is no greater solace in times of trouble than the comfort of a friend. Somehow they can console us without the easy resort to clichés, maxims, bromides, or hackneyed stereotypes. Often they can comfort even without words. That is because they really know us. They understand us. They care for us. All too often the great men and women through the ages were able to achieve what they did only because they had the recourse of gracious friendship in times of adversity--as their words give vivid testimony:

“Real friendship is shown in times of trouble; prosperity is full of friends.” Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920)

“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” King Solomon (Proverbs 17:17)

“In prosperity our friends know us truly; in adversity we know our true friends.” Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)

“Life is but short; no time can be afforded but for the indulgence of real sorrow, or contests upon questions seriously momentous. Let us not throw away any of our days upon useless resentment, or contend who shall hold out longest in stubborn malignity. It is best not to be angry; and best, in the next place, to be quickly reconciled. Thusly will friendship’s solace and comfort make amends.” Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

“Distraught of a consuming grief, an acquaintance sought to assuage my tears with the confident words of eternal verity. Knowing all he adjured to be truth, and yet unmoved, I wished but that he would leave me. Another, a friend, came next and uttered nary a peep. Instead, with a light touch and a sympathetic ear he consoled me, and I was sorry to see him go. Both had intentions of setting me aright, yet only the friend brought me comfort. Without words he spoke the truth in love.” John Watson (1838-1907)

“Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends. Grief is the proving ground of an authentic affection.” Robert E. Lee (1807-1870)

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