My best friend’s name is Shawn. We met 15 years ago when I was going through my divorce. At that time, Shawn was the happiest person I had ever known. She had been divorced for several years and was about to start over with a wonderful man. When I met John, I could tell he loved Shawn very much. The two of them seemed to be perfectly suited to each other. John was the strong silent type and Shawn his faithful companion. A little over a year after they were married, John died of cancer.
Proverbs 17:17 tells us that “a friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Another way of saying all times would be in every circumstance or in every season of our lives. The word translated brother, ’ach (awkh) typically refers to a blood relative, but “in several passages, the word ach connotes ‘companion’ or ‘colleague’ – that is, a brother by choice” (251). When Solomon said that a brother is born for adversity, he was implying that in the most difficult times of our lives, our best friend is there for us. His or her friendship is meant for that purpose.
The thing that attracted me to Shawn, her happiness, is what kept me by her side when she lost her husband to cancer. It was hard to watch her go through such a difficult trial and even today she still suffers in some ways, but Shawn has a beautiful heart and cares so deeply for the people around her that you can hardly tell how broken she is inside. I wish I could say I chose Shawn to be my best friend because of her happiness, but really it was her suffering that made me love her more than I do my own sister.