What a Friend

what a friend we have in Jesus

what a friend we have in Jesus

I love music. Something about it just speaks deep into my heart in ways that poems, sermons, and other means just don’t reach. (That being said, don’t expect me to show my appreciation for music in public ways. My singing has that delicate quality of being able to crack mirrors and frighten small children.) But there’s just something about lyrics that seem to work their way into the recesses of my heart and mind, and shine fresh light on truths that have begun to grow old and stale.

The old hymns of the faith hold a special place in my heart, and while listening to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” the other day, one of the lyrics caught me off guard. The song says,

“Oh what peace we often forfeit,

oh what needless pain we bear,

all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

Whoa. I stopped what I was doing and sat in stunned silence. Those words, written over 150 years ago, pierced my soul with their convicting truth.

How often do I try to do things on my own? How often do I reject God’s promises for provision, protection and peace? I handle my circumstances in private, pull up my bootstraps, and carry on … not wanting to “bother” God with my problems. I choose to worry, stress, and panic over circumstances in my life, all the while ignoring the beautiful promises that God has given to me. Oh what peace I forfeit. Oh what needless pain I bear.

Look at Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

It’s all right there, black and white, crystal clear. Our precious Creator and Father knows that we are prone to worry, prone to discouragement, prone to turn to ourselves in times of trouble. But He gives us this sustaining promise, “present your requests to God … and the peace of God … will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. God doesn’t just promise to listen to our problems and sympathize with our situation, but He promises to guard our hearts and minds if we will only turn to Him.

Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Our God, the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe, has invited you and me to approach Him with confidence. God loves you. Don’t miss that—GOD loves YOU. His love for you is so immense, so deep and so wide, that we can scarcely comprehend it. He loves you and wants you to come to Him. With anything.  With everything.  With confidence.

So dear friend, what needless pain are you carrying today? What weighs on your heart and keeps you awake at night? Take it to God. Lay it at his feet everyday. Every hour. Approach your Father with confidence that He loves you.

“What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!”

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Joseph M. Scriven, 1855

erika patterson