“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis.  

Worship music has the unique ability to testify to our love for, and appreciation to the God who saved us from being eternally separated from Him. Music has the power to move us.  Music can capture a moment in time; when you hear a certain song you can instantly be transported back to that last day of Christian camp where you first heard that song, and the moment you gave your life to Christ. A song that moved generations of generation of Christians is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” by Joseph Scriven.

Some of our best-loved hymns were written in times of great sadness. What a Friend We Have in Jesus is one such song. Despite the pain, hymn writers were able to find comfort in the arms of Jesus and point others to this source of unshakable joy with their music. 

When a young man, Scriven was engaged to be married. All preparations had been made for the wedding ceremony and the date had been fixed. But on their wedding day his promised bride was accidentally drowned, and he was plunged into the deepest sorrow. From this sad experience came a deep sense of his dependence upon Christ and of the great truth so helpfully expressed in his lines: What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. This song emphasizes that Jesus not only understands our feelings, but also offers us strength and hope.

What a friend we have in Jesus all our sins and grieves to bear

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer

Oh what peace we often forfeit of what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer

Jesus is the greatest friend to great sinners. He draws near in our suffering, and He remains committed even in our stumbling. He lets us all the way in, and loves us to the very end. Friendships, like all relationships depend on communication. They thrive when there is good communication and they wither when there is little or no communication. As we read, receive, and remember God’s word, we hear Him address us as friends. And then we pray — we thank Him, we confess our sins to Him, and we share our burdens with Him. We do this throughout the day, not reporting as servants, but relating as friends.

What a friend we have in Jesus.  

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you like best about the song What a Friend We Have in Jesus? Which parts of the song do you especially identify with? Why?