If we want to continue to grow in being a friend then we have much to learn from these passages.
"And Jonathan said to David, 'Come, let us go out into the field.' So they both went out into the field. And Jonathan said to David, 'The LORD, the God of Israel, be witness! When I have sounded out my father, about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if he is well disposed toward David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? But should it please my father to do you harm, the LORD do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the LORD be with you, as he has been with my father. If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the LORD, that I may not die; and do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the LORD cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.' And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, 'May the LORD take vengeance on David's enemies.' And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul." 1 Samuel 20:11-17 ESV
We can't calculate how much the verbal communication of love means. Some say, 'talk is cheap'... it can be... but it can also be the most valuable thing going.
This little talk became a commitment. David would watch over Jonathan's house and later bless Mephibosheth because of it. David would hide the crippled legs of a man as Christ hides our crippled limbs and be a foreshadow of the Savior's love.
"Then Jonathan said to him, 'Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. On the third day go down quickly to the place where you hid yourself when the matter was in hand, and remain beside the stone heap. And I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. And behold, I will send the boy, saying, 'Go, find the arrows.' If I say to the boy, 'Look, the arrows are on this side of you, take them,' then you are to come, for, as the LORD lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. But if I say to the youth, 'Look, the arrows are beyond you,' then go, for the LORD has sent you away. And as for the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, the LORD is between you and me forever.' " 1 Samuel 20:18-23 ESV
Our friends have to hear from God. Our father is no cruel man like Saul was but still... it is His will that determines the location of the ones we love. We are at war. Will we serve close by or far away. No one wants to serve far away from the ones they love.
The arrows of life will fly and we must make choices and listen for the voice of God. Where is He calling the 'young men'? Often it is beyond. He is often saying, 'Don't go left or right... go beyond.' God sends them farther and our heart goes farther also.
"In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him a little boy. And he said to his boy, 'Run and find the arrows that I shoot.' As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. And when the boy came to the place of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, 'Is not the arrow beyond you?' And Jonathan called after the boy, 'Hurry! Be quick! Do not stay!' So Jonathan's boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. But the boy knew nothing. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. And Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, 'Go and carry them to the city.' And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. Then Jonathan said to David, 'Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.'' And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city." 1 Samuel 20:35-42 ESV
God sent His Son farther. He did not send Him left or right. Christ was sent all the way to the cross and then beyond into death. The animosity of sin sent Him there. We as watchers and listeners have heard the voice command Him to go in the Gospels and He went. It saved our lives.
Our friends go. We go. Children go. Parents go. We see the separation in the world. People are lost and someone must tell them. God shoots His arrow beyond us. Our friends hear the voice of the Son crying out, 'Is not the arrow beyond you?' and we must embrace them and let them go where God has sent them. That is life in wartime.
It will not always be wartime. There will be a great reunion. We sometimes have little reunions in this life but later when death, our last enemy, is put down there we be a great feast and in the timelessness of eternity we will swap war stories. Until then we pay our vows, shed some tears, pray prayers and go to work our mission fields. God will never leave us or forsake us.