Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday morsel: "still our refuge"

Today's "Monday Morsel" is over 150 years old.  This beautiful old hymn came to my mind last Thursday morning when I was at our women's group meeting at church.  Seven of us sat in a circle, pouring out our hearts to God.  We had some tough things to pray about, yet there was this overwhelming feeling of joy and privilege in knowing that God was right there with us -- that all of our concerns and anxieties were safe in His loving hands.

I went to that trusted source, Wikipedia, to find out more about this hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."  Joseph Scriven wrote the words as a poem in 1855, to comfort his mother who was living in Ireland while he was in Canada.  Interestingly, one hymn scholar has commented that although the hymn "has been criticized as being too much on the order of the sentimental gospel type," it remains popular.  I'm not surprised.  I wonder if there is anyone who can confidently say, "Well, I've never had griefs or troubles; I've never felt weak or burdened; I've never felt forsaken by someone I loved; I can't really relate."  Maybe it's because all of us have experienced these feelings -- and Jesus did too -- that this song speaks so directly to the heart.

I hope these words are as encouraging to you today as they have been to me this past week.


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.

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10 comments:

  1. Jesus knows my every weakness . . . No photo shop, no batting away tears before entering into His presence, no shoving dirty dishes into the oven before he arrives. He knows. And He's my Friend. What a delight it is to go to Him in prayer! I've always loved this hymn, Jeannie. Thank you for sharing it. ♥

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    1. I love those analogies, Adriana -- especially the dirty dishes one! Thanks so much for sharing. And I'm glad the hymn spoke to you today.

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    2. I love that line too: "Jesus knows our every weakness." What a comforting thought. I hope you have a great week, Jeannie.

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    3. It is a very comforting thought, isn't it? I hope your week is great, too, Betsy; thanks for stopping by.

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  2. "Oh what peace we often forfeit"

    Forfeiting the riches of God seems to be a regular pastime with me, Jeannie. I'm glad Jesus continues to give even when I've just gotten done squandering his latest blessings!

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    1. Yes, that is so true, Tim. Didn't you have a post somewhat to that effect: rebutting someone's comment that God will eventually stop giving if we waste what He's given? Not that we should waste it! -- but that God's grace is so much greater than our falling-short.

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    2. Good memory, Jeannie. That was this post: http://timfall.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/tony-evans-misrepresents-gospel-grace/

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  3. One of my childhood favourites, a great comfort to me growing up. A more recent song with a similar theme and pull on the heart, is Waterdeep's "He Will Come." Do you know it?

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    1. That looks really familiar to me, Franceen: I wonder if you played or shared it sometime when we were at Church in the Box? Beautiful words.

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  4. Yes, now that you mention it, I think I did share it with you around that time, perhaps when visiting you for coffee one day? I especially love listening to Waterdeep sing the song - there's something about the music going with the words that makes it particularly poignant for me. Which reminds me of a couple of other songs that I find especially powerful by the combination of words/music/singer - Leonard Cohen's "Anthem" and Jacques Brel's "Ne me quitte pas."

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