Real friendship is one of the rarest gifts in the world. It can sometimes be tough to make friends, let alone real, true, good friends. But the number of friends doesn't really matter; the quality does.
As we grow up, our peers tend to have more influence on us than our parents. So it's vitally important that we make good friends. We read in the Bible, "Wise friends make you wise, but you hurt yourself by going around with fools" (Prov 13:20 CEV). Hurting ourselves is not the point of friendship.
So if we find ourselves with friends who are trying to make us do things we shouldn't do, or compromise and change who we are to fit in, then we probably need to change friends. We need to get a better concept of real friendship. And we need to be willing to stand on our own, which sometimes means being without personal friends.
These last points may be hard to swallow. But if we turn to God to get a clearer concept of friendship, we'll discover that we can never be friendless. David came to this conclusion. He had defeated Goliath and had thousands of people praising him. So King Saul tried to kill him. As a result of Saul's jealousy, David was separated from his best friend, Jonathan, Saul's son. Still, David was able to write about God: "You are my friend, and you are my fortress where I am safe. You are my shield, and you made me the ruler of our people" (Ps 144:2 CEV).
God is our true friend, and God never deserts us, never leads us astray, never asks us to change who we are or to compromise our values. Real friends value who we are. As we gain a clearer concept of God as our best friend, we'll discover the blessings of friendship. It may mean that we have lots of friends. It may mean that we have only a few. And it may mean that we're just alone a lot – with God as our best friend.
There's a promise that I have seen come true: "God sets the solitary in families" (Ps 68:6 NKJV). God does bless us with real friends, friends who become family. These friends are gifts from God. Even better, we are being friends to others who need and want a true friendship as much as we do.
So we can rejoice and be grateful: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17 NIV). Friends may come and go, but God always stays with us. If we feel pressured by friends who aren't really friends, or if we feel alone, we can trust that we always have a friend by our side – a Friend who knows and meets all our needs.