The Closest Friend

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

─ Romans 8:31

In the very middle of tragic events and unexpected grief, Jesus often becomes the closest friend and the One who understands us more than we understand ourselves. Through the words of the hymn, What A Friend We Have in Jesus, the songwriter, Joseph Scriven put such feelings into words for us.

Scriven, born in Ireland in 1820, came to know grief at an early age. His poor health kept him from aspirations to become a Royal Marine like his father. He attended Trinity College in Dublin and was engaged to be married when the day before the wedding, his fiancé drowned. In an effort to move forward after such a tragedy, he moved to Canada and dedicated his life to service to the Lord. He again met someone and fell in love, but once again, tragedy claimed his dreams. She became sick and died.

In 1855, Scriven penned a poem simply to comfort his ill mother. She still lived in Ireland, and he didn’t have the finances to visit her. He sent a copy of his poem to a religious journal, where it was published. The poem, now a world-renowned hymn, was only discovered by accident after Scriven’s death in 1866.

Charles Converse composed the music and Ira Sankey popularized the hymn that accompanied the lyrics that have comforted many generations from past to present.

Today’s One Thing

Sit down and write several words of encouragement to comfort someone today.


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