Saturday, May 05, 2007

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

"What a Friend We Have in Jesus." What words!! And for each of us who know Him as Savior, how true! Never, ever do we need to feel ourselves friendless if we have Him, the dearest and best of all! And to know, without a shadow of doubt that we can take all, not just a few, but all of our cares and concerns to Him! These are just a small portion of the many privileges and blessings of the Christian life.

I have LOVED this precious hymn since I was a little girl. I wasn't even a Christian yet, but loved it. In the little small town church I grew up in, on Wednesday night prayer services we would sing favorites. If a person wanted to request a favorite hymn, he or she wouldn't always say "I want to sing hymn so and so," but instead, would just start singing it! Never would there be piano accompaniment, but in an often off-key voice, perhaps a raspy one, some saint would start singing a song that was on his or her heart. And I cannot tell you how often it would be this precious, beloved hymn, sometimes sung with tears rolling down the cheeks. What memories it brings back to me of those saints. I didn't know what they knew then, but I know now!

Joseph Scriven wrote these words, as is the case with so many of the old hymns, as one of the fruits of tragedy. He learned firsthand of this precious Friendship when his fiancee drowned the night before their wedding. Can you imagine such sorrow and grief as this? But its result was that this man was to find a personal relationship with Jesus. But then again, he was to lose a fiancee to death before their marriage. Even though sorrow followed him in his life, Jesus followed Him too. Later, when his mother became ill in his homeland Ireland, he wrote these words from Canada in a poem to her to comfort her. While he was in Canada, this man who wrote these beloved words was a friend himself to many needy people. It means so much to me as a believer to sing words penned by someone whose life was a testimony of what he wrote. I'm thankful for these people, long gone to glory, but blessing us still.

I found yet another place with stories of the hymns. I still like the Cyber Hymmal also, but this time go to, as the story of Mr. Scriven's life is handled so thoroughly there. Then, listen to its tune for a while and be thankful for your dear Friend, Jesus, and for the privilege of prayer.
My favorite stanza:
Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, 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.
~ Joseph Scriven, 1819-1886


Beka said...

What a wonderful hymn.
I smiled and was moved when I pictured the scene in your childhood church, with saints coming out and singing their favorite hymns. Wish I could have been there...
I'll check out the story of Joseph Scriven on Sermon Audio.
The verse you included is my favorite in that hymn.

Just Theresa said...

I love that hymn, we sing it in church a lot. And it always bring tears to my eyes. No other friend, but Jesus. No not one.

Beverly said...

I didn't know, or perhaps, didn't remember -- the story behind that old favorite.

This makes the hymn all the more precious. As you do, I love the words "in His arms he'll take and shield thee, thou wilt find a solace there."

Mommysmart said...


I just wanted you to know that I have not been a very good “bloggie” friend lately. I have still been lurking, just not commenting. Finals are over on Tuesday and I will have more time to let you all know how much your blogs brighten my day.


Phoebe said...

I just wanted to let you know that I finally updated. You asked how I find you on Xanga ... it was actually that "writerz blok" had left a comment on my church friend's site after a retreat they both attended. You had commented on writerz blok's site, so that's how I found you. I actually left you a mssg there mostly to let you know how to find me & other Bookamer's there. :D

Phoebe said...


chrisd said...

I sang that song a lot as a child. Sadly, my children don't know a lot of the old hymns. That's too bad, I think.

Perhaps I should get them a tape of them.

Excellent post, Maxine!