What a Friend!

by Sharon Betters

 

TODAY’S TREASURE

 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

As a child, I sat with my parents and grandmother in our tiny Presbyterian church and gustily sang the old hymns. I especially loved Sunday night services when the preacher asked for favorites. My cousins and I eagerly waved our hands and shouted out, Wonderful Grace of Jesus. Even then, I suppose young people wanted music with a beat! Another favorite was What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Though too young to really understand what griefs and trials meant, I loved the idea of Jesus as my friend.

This hymn means even more to me now that I not only understand griefs and trials, but also the history behind the song. Joseph Scriven, an Irishman, wrote What a Friend We Have in Jesus as a broken hallelujah. Mr. Scriven planned to marry his sweetheart and build a Christian home and business. The day before the wedding, his fiancée drowned. He moved to Canada where he helped the poor in an attempt to forget his grief, and there a second fiancée died of pneumonia. Soon after, in 1855 he wrote this comforting poem for his mother who still lived in Ireland. She must have sent it to friends, who sent it to a Christian periodical where it was published with no attribution. In time, the original copy was discovered by a neighbor in Mr. Scriven’s sickroom. Mr. Scriven found solace in turning to Jesus with each broken place, but he struggled with poor health, financial struggles, and depression toward the end of his life.

Throughout the very broken places in his life, Mr. Scriven learned that the most effective means of finding help and hope is the most simple: Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Just a little glimpse into Mr. Scriven’s life leaves no doubt he suffered deeply. In that suffering he found solace in the promise of Jesus, his Savior, to bear his burdens, to hear his prayers, and hope of a better tomorrow in eternity:

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.

 

Dear friends, your life may not change here on this earth. You may never experience the healing of a relationship, marriage to a spouse who treats you with kindness or a child who appreciates the love you pour into her. When you are tempted to succumb to such disappointments, accept Mr. Scriven’s invitation. Take it to the Lord in prayer with confident expectation of God’s promise of restoration one day.

What A Friend We Have in Jesus


What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit,

O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful,

Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness,

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,

Cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge,

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?

Take it to the Lord in prayer;

In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,

Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised

Thou wilt all our burdens bear.

May we ever, Lord, be bringing

All to Thee in earnest prayer.

Soon in glory bright, unclouded,

There will be no need for prayer.

Rapture, praise, and endless worship

Will be our sweet portion there.

 

PRAYER

Dear Jesus, May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to thee in earnest prayer.

 
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Contact Sharon with comments or questions at dailytreasure@gmail.com.