Poor health forced him to drop out of a military college, ending his hopes of an Army career.
His fiancée died in a drowning accident the day before their wedding.
Subsequent plans for marriage were again dashed when his new bride-to-be died after a short illness.
That was the year Joseph Scriven penned the lyrics to “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”.
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!
Joseph Scriven, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, 1855
Take our burdens—sins, griefs, pain, trouble, sorrow, discouragement—to the Lord in prayer is the recurring theme. It’s a hymn that has been a source of comfort to broken people for nearly 150 years.
In 2017 four writers took this idea and reimagined the hymn into a song titled “What A Friend”.
Everybody has trials and temptations, everybody knows heart break isolation,
But we can lay our burdens down, lay our burdens down,
What a friend we have in Jesus, east to west my sins are gone,
I see grace on every horizon and forever and ever His heart is my home.
Abbie Parker, Adam Palmer, Matt Maher & Matthew Hein, What A Friend, 2017
Take it to the Lord in prayer. Lay your burdens down.
How does that even work?
First and foremost, it’s about dealing with the hurts we have in our lives. Admitting they exist. Realizing we have been holding on to them, even if unintentionally.
We all have them. Just like the song says.
NOT dealing with them leads to those issues gaining traction in our lives and getting heavier and more difficult to manage.
The heavier they get, the more difficult they are to ignore.
Still, we Cowboy Up! and keep them bottled up until they spill over and onto the people around us.
How’s that working out for you?
If you’re anything like me it leads to being burned out, worn down, and exhausted.
The Bible is pretty clear that we can’t live in freedom without Jesus. Did you catch that? We cannot live free without Jesus. We NEED Him.
What a privilege to have a friend like Jesus. Someone who desires to spend time with us, care for the worn out and weary areas of our lives, and get us unstuck.
“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.”
Luke 22:42 NLT
When we’re overwhelmed, Jesus tells us to come to Him.
Today God wants you to know that it’s time to get all the weight off of your shoulders. Weights of compromise, of other people’s mistakes, of worry, dread, fear, regret, and all your other burdens. Whatever is weighing you down. He wants to bring you relief.
So let Him.
God wants to give you something you desperately need. Allow Him to do so.
Today, take a moment to walk outside and find a pebble. A small rock of any sort. Pick it up. Hold it. And while you’re holding it pray this simple prayer:
Father God, take my burdens from me. Especially [name those things that feel especially heavy today]. In their place give me your rest. Let this rock represent the heavy boulders I’ve been carrying on my own. As I let it go, please release me from their weight. Thank you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Now drop the rock.
Laying your burdens down, and taking them to the Lord in prayer?