Joseph Scriven was born in Ireland in 1819. At the age of 25 he had fallen in love and was to be married. The day before his marriage his fiancé died in a drowning accident.
In hopes of starting a new life he sailed to Canada where he worked as a teacher. While there he fell in love with a woman by the name of Eliza Roche. They became engaged to be married, but once again before the wedding could take place Eliza became ill and died.
You might think that this would be enough to shatter the faith of even the most devout person, but in the midst of it all Joseph’s faith in God sustained him. In fact, he never did marry, but spent the rest of his life sacrificially giving his time, money and personal possessions to help those in need and to spread the love of Christ wherever he went.
At about the same time of Eliza’s death he got word that his mother was ill. He was not able to be with her so he enclosed a poem he had written: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Almost 30 years later Joseph’s poems were discovered and this one was put to music.
Be reminded again as you read these words that the love and grace of our God is an anchor for our souls, no matter our circumstances. (I’ve underlined some phases for emphasis.)
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.
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear. May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer. Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer. Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.
May the indescribable, ever-present peace of Jesus surround you in the week ahead.