What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Joseph Scriven 1855
Joseph Scriven was a poet born in Ireland in 1819. He was well educated at Trinity College in Dublin. When I read about him it struck me that he was a man devoted to God and to prayer. He witnessed the death of his fiancee who fell off her horse while crossing a bridge thus falling into the water. He watched in horror from the other side unable to help as she was swept away. This caused him much distress and sorrow. Because of his sorrow, he started to wander and ended up in Canada. He lost his second fiancee there from pneumonia. What grief he must have felt. At one time he became quite ill while in Canada. A friend who came to visit saw this poem on the table beside his bed. He had written it to send back to his mother in Ireland. Though he never meant it to, the poem became one of the most beloved hymns ever written. It speaks to us when we are surrounded by difficulties.
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer.
In my mind’s eye, I can see my daddy singing this hymn in front of his congregation. My father sang with his whole heart. He could not hit a note on the side of a barn, but he loved music and loved to sing. My mother, on the other hand, could sing. Her untrained voice was absolutely beautiful. She too sang with her whole heart. Several congregations in their area of Parkersburg WV would get together once a month just to sing hymns. I grew up in a church with acapella music. When a large group got together the harmony of the hymns sounded amazing. My parents rarely missed an opportunity to join these gatherings. When my mom had her stroke she lost many abilities. Probably one of the most important was her ability to sing. Even as her dementia caused by the stroke worsened she still remembered her lost ability to sing. It absolutely broke her heart. She would still try. Oh, she would try so hard, only able to produce a squeak. Sometimes a little tear would appear. As you can imagine this broke my heart. Writing about it has brought a tear to my eyes accompanied by deep sadness.
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.
I have never regretted taking my mother into our home to take care of her the last few years of her life. I was determined that if it was at all in my power I would not place her in a nursing home. My dad’s, and my desire was that she would be surrounded and cared for by those who loved her best. Our God and Savior was a faithful friend. He provided everything we needed in every way. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. My husband was right there with me, his love for my parents was deep and strong. But, it was the Lord himself who was indeed our closest friend and help.
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.
I can hear in Joseph’s words the comfort flowing through these beautiful words. A man who suffered great sorrow still reaching out to comfort his mother who lived a world away. Both his mother and himself had suffered the sorrow that comes from death as well as from serious illness. These same words comfort me from the loss of my mom and dad as well as from the loss of my husband’s parents. They comforted me as I cared for mom when she did not even know my name. I pray these words will comfort you wherever you are in your caregiving journey. Take it to the Lord in prayer. In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.