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 fo-feit, O what needless pain we bear, All because
we do not carry, Everything to God in Prayer!
Joseph Scriven, author of this hymn was a man who
experienced the friendship of Christ during a life filled with
trouble. As a young man in Ireland, about 1840, his intended
bride was accidently drowned the evening before their wedding. He
had begun training as a military cadet, but poor health forced
him to abandon his dreams of a career in this field.
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.
Moving to Canada, he became a servant of the
underprivileged, helping those who were physically handicapped
and financially destitute. But tragedy continued to stall his
steps. Once again, the plans for a wedding were cut short when
his second fiancee died following a brief illness. It seemed that
Joseph Scriven was destined to go through life alone, knowing
only the friendship of Jesus.
Through much of his life he experienced loneliness, meager
pay for menial work, and physical illness. This hymn is his
testimony that prayer does not necessarily eliminate trouble from
our lives. But, in the midst of tragedy, temptations and
weakness, Christ will be our ever-present Friend who will give us
peace "take and shield us" and carry our "load of care."
Are we weak and heavy-laden, Cumbered with a load ofeare?
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.
After his death, in recognition of his sacrificial service
to others, a monument was erected in Port Hope, in Ontario
Canada, in tribute to Joseph Scriven, an Irish immigrant who was
a friend to many and who found a friend in Jesus. He lived from
1819 to 1886. Perhaps his memory is little known to some in
Canada, but he is one of the few in Canada who have left behind
them something so tender and yet so revealing in a hymn, sung
time after time withion Britain Israel circles, at meetings, at
gatherings, and many times at funerals of a fellow Christian.
Heard sung by hundreds in great choirs, on radio, or in church,
the message it carries is ever conducting, written by a man from
Ireland, descended from ancient Israel, who was caused to go
through hard trials in his life time, yet had the deep-rooted
faith of his friendship with Jesus Christ.
From "Thy Kingdom Come" (March 2008) - a publication of The
Association of Covenant People, Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Entered on this Website March 2008