Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Only True Friend You Need Forever

The One True Friend

"[Jesus is the only true friend who]...loves at all times....." (Pro 17:17).

"A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend; one human soul whom we can trust utterly; who knows the best and the worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults; who will speak the honest truth to us, while the world flatters us to our face, and laughs at us behind our back." - Charles Kingsley

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 thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt 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.

"This hymn arose spontaneously out of a devotional hour Joseph Scriven, 1820-1886 had with the Saviour and were written down almost at His dictation.

"It came to Joseph Scriven in his last illness as he thought of his mother whom he had to leave behind. We may say it arose from a Christian's desire to explain his own secret with a view to helping someone else who was very dear to him. Not long before Scriven was called Home, he was visited by a neighbour who saw it written on a sheet of paper which lay on a table at his bedside. "Are you the author of this lovely poem?" asked the visitor. "The Lord and I did it together" was the reply. What a lovely explanation of the origin of this moving hymn, and maybe of most hymns, "The Lord and I did it together". Do not these words let us into a great secret of christian living? What needless pain we bear because we try to do it on our own, and things go wrong, and we give way to self pity.....
 You may be surprised to know that this hymn arose out of a tragedy, though there was a long space of time between the actual tragedy and the completion of the hymn. There is not a great deal of information regarding Joseph Scriven, but such as we have I must give you, because I feel sure that this story will touch some readers very deeply, and may lead them in the path in which Joseph Scriven was led. It is a hymn for sufferers of all kinds, but specially for those who have had to face mysterious happenings, which have been permitted in their lives, and that are hard to interpret.
 Joseph Scriven was born in Ireland in 1820 and lived there for the first 25 years of his life. Sometime in 1845 he emigrated to Canada, as many another Irishman has done, seeking his fate in the New World. He died in 1886 at the age of 66, after a varied life filled with difficulties such as many a settler has known. He was brought to Christ as a result of losing his bride-to-be on the eve of their marriage. She was accidentally drowned a few hours before they were to be joined in holy matrimony. What an indescribable grief! How easily it might have led him in the opposite direction to unbelief and bitterness and hardness of heart. I always think of this when I come to the last lines of verse three: "In His arms He'll take and shield thee; Thou wilt find a solace there"." [i]

I am moved by this hymn of intimacy and true friendship with Jesus. When I think of my life's sins, griefs that I carry because of the sin nature that dwells in me (Rom 7:17-18), I thank God for the privilege that Jesus has given me as His friend to carry and unload all my burden of anxiety, guilt, condemnation and even dilemmas. I thank Him for standing by me to encourage and strenthen me to carry on by His sweeeet voice of peace and tranquility, when many a times I myself thought of giving everthing up to go on my destructive old ways. I wonder how he sees me fall in to the same failures and it doesn't anger Him. He doesn't even get surprised by my faults (Acts 15:18), and is never judgmental to say, 'You messed it up' (Rom 8:1). Instead, it just amazes me to see Him hear my problems and work on my behalf (Rom 8:28), as I share with Him more and more. It seems that He is more interested in me than all that matters to Him.

I have trials and temptation now and then, it comes just like a storm in the midst of the sea. On a normal day I feel like the sun is shining on me gloriously, until suddenly like a dark clouds on the horizon roaring with a deafening thud and sparking lightning on the sky saying, 'You cannot run away from me'. It descends and gloom, sadness and depression follows like a shadow that is long standing behind me at the dusk, never going away but following me. As the old proverb says, "Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining". I see Jesus as the only hope of silver lining in the dark clouds of difficult times, which Jesus transforms and always leads to better days. These are the times Jesus as a friend stands beside me and speaks through His word, "Don't be discouraged, take it to me in prayer. This is the only yoke that you carry that is very light, all other burdens I carry for you always. So come walk with me.' (Matt 11:28-30). Once I choose to obey this simple command from my friend, suddenly light shines through my soul like the morning sun peeping through a window after days of cloudy storm and chilly wind. Ooo, I suddenly realise the privilege of standing with my invisible friend who stands near me and I say to Him from the recesses of my heart, 'Thank you for the adventure. This is worth it for eternity. Memories of triumphant partnership with you that will never fade away'.

Suddenly after a period of time, the natural friends who stood by me were not there when I needed them the most. I asked them why? They never gave a reply. I never understood them until I heard the problems that they faced, and deep in my emphathy for them, did nothing but pray for them to the invisible friend who always stands beside me (Matt 28:20; Heb 13:5). You know what happened, the Lord became my closest friend. In my loneliness I found the best friend's presence, embracing and filling the void of my soul, making me realise if not for the lonely times I would would have really been alone the rest of my life even with all my friends by my side (Prov 17:17; 18:24). Now my friends come by my side asking for His presence to fill their life too, because I have become the friend of the Greatest Friend to ever have in this life and in the life to come (James 2:23; Is 41:8; John 15:15). I found solace in His arms which took me and shielded me from all the arrows of wrong negative emotions that were sent toward me by my enemies who are Satan and his demonic minions (Eph 6:12). He replaced me with the right emotions and said, this is it you want in life to enjoy your life abundantly (John 10:10; Eccl 5:18-19; 1 Tim 6:17c).

Finally I told Him, 'You are my blessed Saviour and my true friend indeed because you continue to carry my burden, whenever I sulk in to life's problems.' He said to me, 'For a little while you do what you are doing, but you are growing and going where one day you will never have to do this. You just will rapturously praise and endlessly worship for the sweet portion of crowns and trophies that I have collected for you to enjoy your eternity visibly with me.' At that time, even before you call, I will say here I am your friend forever (Is 65:24). I bless my friend and shout JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, thank you for who you are to me, a friend in times of trouble. Help me carry on by your sweet grace, and let me experience you now as the sweet fragrance that comes after the rain.

[i] (Hodgett)
Hodgett, L. (n.d.). Joseph Scriven, 1820-1886. Retrieved 08 03, 2010, from http://www.stempublishing.com: http://www.stempublishing.com/hymns/biographies/scriven.html


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so wondeful...jesus...thank you lord....for being here with me ...and to all the lonely hearts...jesus is with you...

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