Friends are important in our lives. Not only are they sources of the love, encouragement, affirmation, and support that we all need from time to time, they also help us in achieving our goals. No architect has ever constructed a building on his own! However, we can become dependent on friends to the point where we cannot function without them. Therefore, God might sometimes take them away for a season so that we can learn to stand on our own two feet.
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, awaiting his passion, he was with three of his apostles whom he considered his closest friends. They were Peter, James, and John. It was the hour of his greatest need, and Jesus implored them: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went away and prayed. When he returned a while later for some comfort, he found them fast asleep! “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked, shocked at their apathy.
Jesus went away once more to pray, and when he came back, he found them sleeping again. This time he did not wake them up. He realized they weren’t needed for that moment. His Father wanted him to make a decision alone. And once Jesus had made it, accepting God’s will for his life, “an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him,” giving him courage to face what lay ahead ahead (Luke 22:43).
This is how it may be with us. During the bleakest moments of our lives, our friends might not be there for us, but this is because God might want us to arrive at certain decisions on our own. When we have people around us, they can influence us, and even though well-intentioned, they may steer us the wrong way. We also might need to travel for a while on our own to fulfill our destiny.
So, let us not get bitter if our friends seem to have fallen asleep on us, going quiet during those times we believe we need them the most. God might have allowed it because he wants us to be alone for a season. He will wake them up once the season is over. Unless, of course, they were pretending to be asleep! As the Navajo saying goes: “You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.” Let them continue in their pretense! They are of little use awake.
When God believes the time is right, he will give us real friends. Not only will they stay awake in the dark night along with us, but they will also help us fight our battles.