What a Friend!

When thinking about this post, I thought about the different ways a friend provokes growth into our lives. We all know the blessings and, unfortunately, the dangers of allowing people into our private lives. Being misunderstood, misjudged, or maligned is painful. Yet, vulnerability is the price we must pay to gain friends.

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). 

To be friendly means we must be open with others. Easy? Hardly! But, I think it’s worth the pain to find a good friend. I’m grateful for the gift of friendship, aren’t you?

Friends help us through good times and bad times. They mourn when we mourn and rejoice when we rejoice. However, sometimes earthly friends can’t be there for us because of responsibilities, emergencies, forgetfulness, or they’re unaware of the problem. During those instances, we may get upset when they don’t show up and show out. Remember the three “M” words above? Yeah, it happens.

Thankfully, there’s a friend who can and will be with us no matter the circumstances. He has no time limitations and no responsibilities that keep Him from us. He is omnipotent and omnipresent. And He calls us friend.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you (John 15:13-15).

The following hymn holds the truth I’m speaking about. But first, a little history.

While living in Canada, Joseph Scriven received news of his mother’s illness. Financially unable to make the trip home to Ireland, he penned the words to a poem in hopes it would comfort his mother.

Later, Charles Converse wrote the melody to “Pray Without Ceasing,” Today, we know the poem as the beautiful hymn, “What a Friend We  Have in Jesus.

As you read the words, try not to sing it. Let the truth sink deep into your souls.

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

Ev ‘rything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,

Oh, what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Ev ‘rything 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 ev ‘ry 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.

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).  @GailJohnson87 #friend #hope

Image by Kevin Phillips from Pixabay

14 thoughts on “What a Friend!

  1. Thank you, Gail. It is rare to hear this unless your church remembers and sings of the roots of our Redemption and how we have this eternal friend in Jesus.Blessings.

  2. Gail, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen this poem/hymn in its entirety. There are many truths about having Jesus as our closest friend in the words. I’m so thankful our Lord is with us everywhere, in every situation, and loves us even when we don’t choose to turn to Him first. He is truly the most amazing friend!

  3. Love this hymn! Thanks for sharing a bit about the backstory. I like how you transitioned from talking about good friends in general to discussing the tune. 🙂

    • Yes we do, Mimi. I love praise and worship songs. But when I’m going through difficult times, the hymns bubble up inside me, the words turning my thoughts to my Redeemed. Blessings.

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