What a Friend We Have In Jesus

Son of a captain in the British Royal Marines, Joseph Scriven was born in Ireland in 1819. After receiving his university degree from Trinity College in London, he enrolled in a military college to prepare for an army career. However, poor health forced him to give up that ambition, where he became a teacher in his hometown instead. On the night before Scriven’s scheduled wedding, his fiancé drowned. In his deep sorrow, Joseph realised that he could only find the solace and support he needed in his dearest friend, Jesus. After starting a new life in Canada, Scriven experienced more death in his life, losing his second fiancée Eliza Rice. After this, he turned to his faith where he found not just solace, but a mission and he dedicated his life to serve the poor and needy. 10 years later when he found out his mother was ill but could not visit her, he wrote a comforting letter, enclosing the words of the below written poem, with the prayer that these brief lines would remind her of a never failing friend she had in Jesus1.

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.


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