Friday 22 October 2021




What a friend we have in Jesus.

In the past 18 months, the most common illness has been loneliness, which doctors would confirm has caused depression and mental health problems, much due to people isolating who have never been used to being on their own but due to the pandemic have been forced to be alone.

There are of course, other regular causes which lead to loneliness, such as ills, and sadness of grief for the loss of a loved one.  Women left alone in a house feel naturally unsafe, a partner of a husband/wife left after many years in marriage, who feel deprived of precious love and companionship.  We all know people like that and feel sorrow and sympathy for them, but we never fully understand until we personally experience it for ourselves.

I am sure there will be feelings of gratitude to those who give time and effort to help the lonely, but those we care for have feelings too, and they for personal reasons and feelings, do not always want what is offered. Such are intensely feelings, and we should not be offended if rejected.

On the other hand, I have been told and know of people who claim to be so fond of the deceased and partner when both are living, suddenly find themselves have something more worthy of their time when death occurs. I have Paul in mind when writing to Timothy stated, ‘ no one came to stand by me, all deserted me. May it not be charged against them, but the Lord stood by me and strengthened me

As a Vicar I have witnessed various attitudes, amazingly at first to me, that one partner has been so ill for a period, the husband/wife left feels glad for their partner’s death whether for the deceased or themselves.  Personally, I could never accept that, for true love transcends all else as an everlasting love. I know how sad it is when you see a loved one suffer, but I also know the person suffering wants to stay with you until God takes them into his care.

Young people, business people, are often forced to live in big cities and get lonely.  I have seen movies of people in New York, once described as the loneliest place on earth, and can imagine how true that may be. Young men and women unable to cope on their own after busy days at work, take to alcohol, drugs, excessive sexual relationships which don’t lead anywhere useful, yet those who live there are reluctant to move.

It comes down to, what can be done to ease the curse of modern living?

Joseph Scriven was a man due to be married to a lady, but she was killed in an accident immediately before the big day.  Sometime later he met another lady and fell in love with her and they were to be married, and she too died before the day arrived for the wedding. He wrote a poem to his mother which has been one of the world’s most famous and loved hymns, sung by many well-known artists; what a friend we have in Jesus.  The full version is at the end of this message.

The words of verses 3 and 4 are particularly relevant for those who are feeling lonely now.  If your friends do forsake you, then Jesus is the one you turn to for help and care to give you solace.

Jesus did say, ’come unto me all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’. He will know our every weakness and help you with his care. Call to him in prayer and you will be answered.

BUT, you cannot have Jesus as a friend unless you are prepared to accept him as Saviour, someone who died for you so you can be forgiven your sins.  We all sin in some way. Lots of people interpret sin as some form of sexual immorality but it is far more than sex; hate, malice, envy, jealousy, lying, adultery, theft, in fact anything which offends God’s Word in the Bible.

If we sin, we have to be forgiven so that God, who hates sin, will see us fit to be a member of his Kingdom.  The only way we can be forgiven is through the lonely death of Jesus on the Cross, who died to pay for our wrongdoings.

We will still feel lonely at times, but will not have the same sense of loneliness that many people have. All Christians who have called upon Jesus, can count n him as a friend.

There are many attitudes people take, Going to the burial ground, but your dear one is not really there; placing a photograph where you can talk to them; sitting on a chair they sat on; anything to bring them back to you. But there is nothing in this life will ever do that.

If you are not lonely, thank God daily. It can be a sure cause for depression, and whilst some find comfort in sedatives which are prescribed, they are a very temporary ease, if at all.  Think of true friends who may be kind enough to visit you.  If you are someone who visits a lonely person, remember the words of Jesus who said, ‘in as much as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it unto me.’

Everyone will find loneliness and grief at some time in life, and you will have to as well. Read your Bible, you will be surprised how God seems to reach out from the pages to you.

I pray for God’s blessing, and for the care and comfort of Jesus to be on all who are in any way suffering the loss of someone dear and feel the end of your world has come. If you are a true Christian and not a make believe one, you can just pray and look forward to finding that loved one in the heavenly place.


What A Friend We Have In Jesus

Joseph M. Scriven

What a blessing to be able to come to God each day and hand over our worries and fears. With our friend, Jesus, our burdens can be lifted and our souls cleansed. 

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, 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 thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Saviour, 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.

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