Sunday, September 14, 2014

HYMN: What A Friend We Have in Jesus

John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.

Proverbs 18:24 - A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (NKJV)

It is hard to go through difficult times in our lives - illnesses, betrayals, fears, deaths, and so on - but, even in our grief-stricken loneliness, the Lord can use our circumstances to help bring encouragement and support to others. One example comes from Joseph M. Scriven, a natural born Irishman who later moved to Canada. When his mother became ill, and he could not return home to Ireland to be with her, he wrote her a poem to encourage her in her time of distress. He never would have been able to write these words if he had not understood what it was like to share his sorrows with the Lord. In fact, great sorrow encompassed his life through the loss of two different special ladies (whom he was engaged to be married to). It was his faith in Jesus Christ that helped get him through his grief. 

Joseph's poem to his mother was never intended to become a hymn, but it's definitely a memorable one that is still loved by many today.

Words by:  Joseph M. Scriven
Music by:  Charles C. Converse
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 your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will 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.
For more information, you can watch a 10-minute video on You Tube about Joseph Scriven and THE STORY BEHIND THE HYMN.

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