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 nineteenth-century hymn was familiar with grief and loneliness. Scriven was engaged twice, and both times his bride-to-be died before the wedding. He fought depression all his life. It was after one bout with depression that he wrote the words to this song.
He could write those words because he had discovered the reality of friendship with Jesus Christ. Jesus understands our feelings because he lived on earth as a man. Jesus knows what it is like to be lonely. He suffered the pain of rejection and cruelty, and he 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 fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). But God transferred our sin to Jesus, his sinless Son, to make us right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead on the third day. He experienced God’s wrath in our place. Because of that, those who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior are given the right to know God as their Father (Romans 8:15). And 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 him in prayer and the confidence to know that he hears them and will answer (see: 1 John 5:15).
What God requires is that you and I turn from our sins and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will 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 your sin. He died for you, even though you are a sinner (Romans 5:8). God promises that all those who believe in Jesus and trust in his perfect sacrifice for their sin 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 the punishment I deserve. 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. Amen.