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Charismatic Characters: The Companion

“Two are better than one...If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” (Eccles. 4:9-10)

So, Arthur had Merlin, his trusted advisor, but also his friend Lancelot and wife, Guinevere. Harry Potter had Dumbledore, but also Ron and Hermione; Luke had his buddies Princess Leia and Han Solo. Batman and Robin, the Lone Ranger and Tonto...on and on: the hero on his quest has a friend, sidekick, or truelove, to assist him or her on the journey of life. Biblical characters are no different.

Adam had everything in Eden except a soulmate; hence, Eve. Moses had his sibling helpers, Aaron and Miriam, and then Joshua. Naomi had her faithful daughter-in-law, Ruth. Elijah had Elisha. Sometimes, the companions weren’t that helpful as when Rebekah helped Jacob fool her husband Isaac, or when the “Comforters” of Job reassured him that he was to blame for all his troubles! The most touching of friendships in the Old Testament, in my opinion, is that of David and Jonathan.

Jonathan is the son of King Saul, first king of Israel. He is a very brave warrior (read about the raid he led on the Philistines in 1 Samuel 14.) When his father becomes irrationally afraid of David, Jonathan defies the king, his father, and warns David about Saul’s threats at the risk of his own life. The two swear eternal friendship even though Jonathan knows that David will likely inherit the throne and not himself, the natural heir (1 Sam. 19-20.) When Jonathan is killed in battle, David mourns him in heart-wrenching terms: “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. How the mighty have fallen!” (2 Sam. 1). David adopts Jonathan’s crippled son Mephibosheth as his own. David depended on his friend for support during critical stages of his life as we do our friends.

In the New Testament, Jesus has the disciples (good examples of friends who care but who typically don’t get it.) Paul has Silas, Timothy, and many other friends and companions he identifies with affection and gratitude in his letters. The most touching friendship, though, is that of the family of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. We read about Jesus dropping by their home in Bethany several times. There is the conflict between the sisters when Martha is busy preparing lunch and Mary sits at Jesus feet to learn. Jesus gently chides Martha and commends Mary. And, of course, when Lazarus dies, Jesus weeps, reassures the sisters that their faith in him is not in vain, and calls Lazarus forth from the grave. My point is that Jesus, like all of us, needs friends he can just drop in on, who trust and can be trusted. Yes, he had the disciples, but they were at least as frustrating as they were helpful by my read (and, yes, our companions can certainly be frustrating as well.)

We’re on a journey and we can’t do it alone. As the Bible shows, we need peers who understand us, who both challenge us and have our backs, provide us chances to serve, and walk beside us in good times and bad.

Prayer: Dear God, our Divine Companion: Bring into our lives people who will invest their lives in us as we do in theirs so that together we can build up your Kingdom.

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