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!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Joseph Scriven 1819-1886

These familiar words were written in 1855 by Joseph Scriven, an Irish-born Canadian who knew more than his own share of painful grief. The hymn was written to comfort his mother in a time of special sorrow for her. However, Joseph himself had witnessed the body of his fiancée being pulled from a lake the day before their planned wedding. He was about 25 years old at the time, and decided to emigrate to Canada. He later fell in love again, and once again experienced loss. His second fiancée contracted tuberculosis and died before their wedding took place.

To escape his sorrow, Joseph poured himself into ministry, doing charity work for the Plymouth Brethren and preaching among the Baptists. He lived a simple, obscure life in Port Hope, Ontario, cutting firewood for widows and giving his clothes and money to those in need. Surely he knew the truth of the last line of his hymn:

In His arms He’ll take and shield thee;
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Source: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Joseph Scriven Memorial

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