Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Unless you live under a rock, you know that the Super Bowl is being played this weekend. This year two franchises who have experienced success over the long haul will face off - The Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. These two teams have made a collective ten trips to the NFL Championship game.
Even here in Memphis I am seeing Packer and Steelers emblems emblazoned on cars, mailboxes and chests. It is amazing how many fans come out of the woodwork whenever a team experiences success. I am not accusing these individuals of being fair weather fans but to be certain most people's enthusiasm is ignited by success rather than failure.
Today's reading is 3 John. This is John's final letter and again is just a few short verses. This epistle is addressed to a personal friend named Gaius. As John opens his letter he writes, "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." (Verse 2)
Any one of us would echo this prayer for our own friends and loved ones. Who wouldn't pray for the health and well-being? It is thrilling to hear of a family who didn't get the flu. It is exciting to celebrate with a friend who recently received a promotion at work. It is invigorating to be around someone whose faith is passionate and vibrant. It is quite a bit less appealing to imagine walking alongside a friend whose health is failing, who recently lost their home or who is questioning her faith. Am I a fair weather friend who cheers for the successes but hides my friendship flag in the attic during a season of flops?
God's love is a constant. God does not love me more when my children behave. God does not love me less when illness strikes my home. He walks with us through every season of life. If I'm going to love other's with the love of God, I have to be willing to love my family and friends under thunder clouds and sunshine.
Jesus, Your banner over me is love. You fly it every day whether that day is filled with success or failure, fortune or disaster. Help me love my friends and family like that. Today I be far from a fair weather friend.