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.
The man who wrote this famous nineteenth-century hymn was familiar with grief and loneliness. Scriven was engaged twice, and both times the bride-to-be died before the marriage date. He fought depression all his life. It was after one bout with depression that he wrote the words to this song.
What Scriven had discovered was the reality of friendship with Jesus Christ. He knew that because Jesus lived upon earth as a man, He understands our feelings. Jesus knows what it is like to be lonely. He suffered the pain of rejection and cruelty, and felt hunger and thirst. The Bible describes Him as "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). Yet Jesus did more than just sympathize with our troubles.
The Bible says that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," and that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 3:23; 6:23). But "He (God) hath made Him (Christ), who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus Christ, God the Son, died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the dead on the third day. He was a substitute for our sins and suffering God’s wrath in our place. In exchange, God gives all those who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior the right to call God their “Father” (Romans 8:15). God has promised that He will never leave or forsake those who put their trust in Him (Hebrews 13:5).
God does not promise an easy life, but He gives those who trust in Jesus the privilege of taking everything to God in prayer and knowing that He hears them and will answer (1 John 5:15).
What God requires is that you and I turn from our sins (repent) and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).
To believe in Christ means you acknowledge that there is nothing you can do to be "good enough" to meet God's holy standard. Christ alone made the perfect sacrifice to pay the price for the consequences of your sin, and demonstrated God’s love for us that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God promises that anyone who believes in Jesus will have everlasting life (John 3:36).
Have you received Jesus Christ as your Savior and friend? If not, you can right now. You can express your desire to do so in a prayer like this:
“Dear God, I admit that I have sinned against you and deserve punishment for my sins. I believe that Jesus died in my place and took that punishment that I deserved. I want the new life and friendship promised in the Bible for those who believe in You. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me new life.”