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Dean Beaty

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What a Friend We Have in Jesus
5/23/2009 4:21:19 PM
Joseph Scriven was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1819. He fell for a lovely young woman, but on the eve of their wedding she accidentally drowned. Scriven never recovered from the shock. The Irishman began to wander, hoping to forget his sorrow. At age 25, he finally settled in Canada. His faith led him to do menial tasks for poor widows and the sick. He often worked for no wages and was regarded by the people of the community as a kind man, albeit a bit odd. He later fell in love again and planned to marry a wonderful Canadian woman. But again, tragedy struck. before they could marry she died after contracting pneumonia. One day two businessmen stood on a frigid Canadian street corner. A little man carrying a saw walked by. The two friends watched the woodcutter pass, one of them observed, "Now there is a happy man. I wish I could know his joy!" "He seems to be happy," the other agreed. "I know he is a very hardworking, honest man." "If he is such a happy worker and honest too," the first businessman responded, "then maybe I should run after him and hire him to cut some wood for me. I am going to need some more to make it through the long winter months." "Oh," came the laughing reply, "he would not work for you." "And why not?" demanded the first man. "I would pay him a fair wage!" "It's not that at all. You see, Joseph Scriven only cuts wood for people who cannot afford to pay anyone to cut it for them, or for those who cannot cut it for themselves. Scriven gives his work to the people in need and takes nothing for himself." Joseph Scriven sold all his earthly possessions and give his life to the physically handicapped and financially destitute. It was a vow he never broke. " In 1855, a friend visited an ill Scriven and discovered a poem that he had written as a comfort for his ailing mother in faraway Ireland. Scriven didn't have the money to visit her, but he sent her the poem as an encouragement. He called it "Pray Without Ceasing." When the friend inquired about the poem's origins, Scriven reportedly answered, "The Lord and I did it between us." What a Friend We Have in Jesus" might have remained as obscure as Joseph Scriven if it had not been for the American evangelist Dwight L. Moody. Moody came across the song some two decades after it was written and believed it to be the most touching hymn he had ever heard. It was Moody, through his meetings, teachings, and books, who gave the song "What a Friend We Have in Jesus” a national platform. Scriven died in 1886 (ironically, in an accidental drowning). In his memory, the town of Port Hope erected a monument with this inscription from Scriven's famous song: In His arms He'll take and shield thee. Thou wilt find a solace there. 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.
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