What A Friend..!

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, 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.

How often our voices rise as we sing this hymn. And yet the words were written not in rejoicing but in tragedy. Not one tragedy but a series of unfortunate incidents.
Joseph Scriven, the author was born in Ireland in 1820. He was educated at Trinity College in Dublin and was engaged to be married. The evening before their wedding, Scriven’s fiancé drowned. This tragedy coupled with difficult family relationships, caused Joseph to begin following the practices and teachings of the Plymouth Brethren.
Shortly after moving to Canada to become a teacher, Scriven fell in love again, and became engaged to Eliza Roche. Tragedy struck again and Eliza passed away from an illness shortly before marriage. One can well imagine his depth of grief and despair, but Joseph used the tragedies and hardships in life to empathize with the elderly and poor. Scriven used his time to saw wood for the stoves of those who were handicapped or elderly.
He wrote this famous hymn in 1855.
Even as I read about the tragedies of Scriven, I think how God must have put out his hand to the stricken man, who had lost two deep friends for life. Again and again, he must have heard a divine voice saying, “It’s okay Joseph, I’m your friend!”
I’m sure there are many of us, broken, lonely, feeling abandoned, or just feeling down, well, there’s a Friend waiting to take over. Someone who’s arms ache to take and shield you. Just take yourself to Him in prayer!
What a Friend..!

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6 thoughts on “What A Friend..!”

  1. Thank you Bob for sharing the background to this beautiful hymn Makes it all the more meaningful Truly what a friend we have in Jesus…

  2. Thanks for remembering Joseph Scriven. He lived and died in Port Hope, Ontario, which is 70 kms. from my home in Toronto. Have visited his memorial and the plaques erected in his memory. It amazes us that a man so besotted with tragedy in his earthly life could trust his God to inspire him to write this Hymn which has become a blessing to millions across many continents.

  3. Regarding fear, the postulate of Gurbani is: Respectful fear for the Creator God engenders reverence for Him. When the fear of God wells up in one’s mind, all other worldly fears and anxieties just vanish. And one becomes fearless in pursuing one’s vocations.

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