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The TRUE story behind the song "WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS"
I was listening to hymns on YouTube and decided to listen to one of my favorite songs “What a friend we have in Jesus”
There was a video clipping to the side that says: the true story behind “What a friend we have in Jesus” of course I clicked it because I love history and learning new things. As I watched and listened to the video I began to feel very sad and appreciative at the same time. The story was so sad but yet I was thinking here we are singing this song today and we never thought about how or why or what led the author of the song to write it.
The story goes like this: Mr. Joseph M. Scriven an Irish born man (1819-1896) fell in love at the age of twenty five (25) and was to be married. His fiancé suffered a tragic death the day before their wedding. She was riding her horse on her way to meet Joseph when the horse suddenly stopped and she was thrown from the horse and ended up in a nearby river she was unconscious because her head had struck the floor she drowned almost instantly, minutes before Joseph arrived.
When Joseph and his men arrived they saw the body and Joseph saw the face of the girl he was going to married and said the bottom of his world had fell apart. Joseph Scriven was so heartbroken he left Ireland to live in Canada all his future hopes and promises had vanished just in front of his eyes. He said wherever he went or looked in Ireland he was reminded of that happy day that never came so he had to leave Ireland.
He then turned to God for guidance and consolation. Joseph spend the rest of his life in Canada he settle near Lake Ontario, he committed himself to Christ and helping others in need around him. It was said once he never denied a request for help; his greatest desire was to reflect the love of God in his life. Scriven did this for almost forty years (40). He was known as the Good Samaritan he never accepted money for his work but wanted to help those who could not afford to pay. To show his appreciation for the grace of God in his life, working as a teacher he fell in love again and became engaged to Eliza Roche. Again Joseph dreams was shattered as Eliza became ill and died before their wedding. Though Joseph was hurt more than once, he never lost hope and faith in God. His love grew stronger and just after Eliza’s death he started to preach at the Plymouth Baptist Church. He never married again but continued to give thanks, clothes, money etc to the less fortunate.
Just after Eliza’s death Joseph received a letter saying his mother was sick, he could not go to her ,so he decided to write her a poem and send it. The poem was named “WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS” ALL our sins and grief’s to bear, what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer……..
Thirty years later when Joseph was ill one of his friends came across the poem due to this, almost 30 years later this letter of comfort to Joseph’s mother. The poem was published in a book called Hymns and other verses. Charles C. Converse soon after, noted music to the poem “What a friend we have in Jesus”.
Joseph Scriven was a wonderful man and a role model to follow that no matter what happens in this life we should always love GOD, and never turn our backs on him but be faithful to the end. Always Thank God in Good times and bad times!
" What a FRIEND I have in JESUS"
What a friend I have in Jesus!
He took all my burdens away
and rolled them into the sea
of forgetfulness no more to
remember. O yes my pardon
for me he did pay.
He turned my night into day
and all my darkness he took
away. He turned my sadness into
joy and my complaints into thanks.
O what a friend I have in Jesus.
He covered my sins and pardoned my
Iniquities my transgressions he threw
away. He lift me from despair and keeps
me singing everyday day.
What a friend I have in Jesus, when all
hope seem to have gone and I had no
one to turn to. Only Jesus heard my cry
and fled to my side.
Written by: Joanna Chandler
Copyright © 2014
Don't miss the lovely singing of Alan Jackson below.
God bless you and peace be unto you from Adonai.