We all need friends. Who are our friends? Hopefully not friends “in low places” as they will let us down. Job’s friends detested him during his time of greatest need and Jesus’s followers all left him after he was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane so even our closest friends can let us down. Our best friend according to John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. That friend is Jesus.
We are commanded to love one another. One of my favorite verses is 1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved let us love one another for love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. . . “. Read the rest of the verse or maybe read that entire chapter. Friendship that is real involves real and often sacrificial love.
Now to the story behind the song “What a Friend We have in Jesus”. In researching the stories I often find several versions. Initially this story spoke to me of a young man that went through some real trials and he wrote it to comfort his mother. As a mother when our children struggle we also struggle with them so it would be a comfort for me to know that my child had found a “friend”. As I continued to read I also found it may have been written to comfort his mother during her own time of illness when he was not able to be with her. Either way read the words of this great hymn and be encouraged that if you are a believer in Christ you always have a friend.
Joseph Scriven has the words “What a Friend we have in Jesus” inscribed on the monument where he is buried in Canada. As a young man in Ireland his fiancé accidentally drowned the day before they were to be married. He left Ireland and moved to Canada to live a life alone determining to be a friend to the needy. He was known as the”Good Samaritan of Port Hope”. Again he found love and again his fiancé contracted tuberculosis and died. A friend found the poem when he was visiting Joseph during an illness and when asked if he wrote it he said, “The Lord and I did it between us”.
If you are looking for a friend I hope you find Him.