Friday, May 23, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday

This week has tugged at my heart. I've been reminded anew of the brevity of life. Grateful for God's sovereignty. Awed by how the Holy Spirit enables us to bear one another's burdens. And blessed as I have shared another's grief.

In addition to being touched by the pain that Steven Curtis Chapman and his family are experiencing, grief has also struck closer to home. Today I attended the funeral of a woman who died (ironically, also the same day as Maria Chapman) of the ravages of breast cancer. Although as a believer, she has traded her suffering for joy, another journey marked with heartache and sorrow is just beginning for a husband and 3 little girls, ages 11, 9, and 7.

Though I had only met this woman once that I recall, her sister is my sister-in-law. And my sister-in-law also has breast cancer. Fortunately, she has no evidence of disease at this moment. We all pray that she will continue to be so.

As frequently happens when I am sorrowful, music ministers to me. One blessed old hymn, while appropriate for all occasions, is especially fitting for difficult times when our burdens are great and questions fill our mind.

And the man who wrote it, Joseph Scriven, experienced heavy burdens and the peace that resulted when He leaned on God. A wealthy and educated young Irishman in love, Joseph was happily anticipating his wedding. The evening before the wedding, his fiancee tragically drowned. He moved to Canada after this tragedy. He later became engaged again, only to lose this fiancee to pneumonia.

Several years later upon hearing of his mother's illness, he sent her a poem he titled "Pray Without Ceasing." This poem was what we know today as What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

Most hymnals only have 3 verses, but I discovered a beautiful 4th verse as well. I love this simple piano version:


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.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

WORDS: Joseph Scriven, 1855
MUSIC: Charles Converse, 1868

Be sure to visit Amy for more songs! Have a blessed weekend!


View blog reactions


Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

What a God we have! He really is all we need....

Blessings to you today.

Tanja said...

Sometimes you just can't beat the great old hymns. This one touched me. Thanks.

Susan said...

Oh, this was great. I never knew the history behind this awesome song!!

Just amazing when you think of all these great men and women who wrote this hymns went through.

Blessings to you Linda♥

Andrea said...

This is one of the good ole' classics, isn't it??!! I love it and am always touched when I hear it! Thanks for sharing, Linda!

Melissa Lea said...

This is one of my favorite hymns! Thanks for sharing it today! Have a great weekend!

Cheryl said...

Great song! Thanks for sharing!

Linda, it's so hard to understand all this cancer these days. History, genetics, environement, etc. My sister was diagnosed with brain cancer 11/07. It was a shock! Any other kind would not have been. So, needless to say she is fighting and we are doing what we can to help her. We are trusting God. We are praising Him. He has shown us some amazing things and people in this short time. We will praise Him whatever our circumstances. I will pray for your sister-in-law family and most assuredly for this father and precious children. Thanks for sharing this story!

Have a blessed and safe weekend!


Linda said...

This week was a rough one for me, too, but you wouldn't be able to tell it by looking at my silly blog. I have a friend suffering, too. And i couldn't even bear to read about the Chapmans in detail. But I do love this song.

Xandra said...

I've never heard that fourth verse...just beautiful.

Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

Amen and amen!


Becoming Me said...

Sweet, sweet friend in deed. My heart has been so heavy these past much grief in the world and even within my own family. But in truth there is comfort. Thank you!

Mel's World said...

There are just some songs that simply can not be described other than "awe inspiring" and this is one of them. Thanks for sharing it with us this weekend Linda...

Tracy said...


This was such a blessing to my heart. Thank you for sharing the beautiful history of this song. Makes it so much more precious. So sorry about the loss of your friend in the midst of an already difficult week. What sweet comfort we have in our Lord.


A Stone Gatherer said...

When my son was a baby and toddler I used to sing this song to him! He loved it and still does!

Liza's Eyeview said...

I can't tell you enough how this song has ministered to me at this time... Thank you.

Amy Wyatt said...

I heard this song on the radio this morning. It takes me back to my childhood singing this song in church. I didn't understand the words of the song then, but boy do I now. This is the second time today I have been reminded of what a privelege it is to carry our burdens to Christ. Thanks for the reminder.

Melanie said...

Such a beautiful and comforting hymn.

I'll remember you and your sister-in-laws family in my prayers.

Sandy@ Jesus and Dark Chocolate said...

I remember several years ago stumbling upon "a bunch of old people" having a church service in our local park. I was moved to tears when I heard all of them sing this song with such passion, and conviction. Since then I have never been able to sing it without thinking of their hearts for the Lord.
Thanks for sharing!

Christina said...

So sad about the Chapman's and so sad about your friend's family. I will pray for both.

Lisa writes... said...