Proverbs 17:17

The poet Samuel Coleridge once described friendship as "a sheltering tree."

When you have the quality of a sheltering tree, the branches of your friendship reach out over the lives of others, giving them shelter, shade, rest, relief, and encouragement....Friends give comfort. We find strength near them. They bear fruit that provides nourishment and encouragement.

When something troublesome occurs in our life, we pick up the phone and call a friend, needing the comfort he or she provides. Ithink there are few things more lonely than having no friend to call.

Friends also care enough about us to hold us accountable...but we never doubt their love or respect.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way(Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.