This morning I woke with the hook to an old hymn running through my head. The words were “What a friend I have in Jesus, take it to the Lord in prayer.” It just kept rolling through my head to the point that serval times I just sang it out loud. As these lyrics meandered through my brain. I began to think of what that really meant and found myself in a state of prayer and reflection as I tried to clear the cobwebs of sleep.
At some point, I had started a sermon by Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones where he discussed Ephesians 2:4-7. I also read a post by a friend whose wife is struggling with cancer and the anxiety that comes with it both for his wife and himself.
As I pondered these things, my thoughts seemed to get very jumbled. There is so much in this world that is disheartening while if we just believe in Jesus, these burdens can be lifted.
I thought about the sermon as it played and the referenced verses in Ephesians. As I thought of them that song was keeping time although now it was a bit less smooth. It seemed to seek out blank spots in my thoughts to fill to make certain that I did not lose focus.
I looked up the referenced verses.
Ephesians 2:4-7 (ESV)
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Just think about that gift God gave us and the cost, and we were not even interested in being friends with Him, but He paid the ultimate price to open our hearts to Him. I think of Philippians 2 as I ponder this sacrifice.
God endured every humiliation to save us. Even death on the cross.
Philippians 2:6-8 (ESV)
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
What greater friend could we have than in Him.
I thought of my friend and his wife and my own family struggling with health issues and the anxiety that comes with not knowing and fearing the worst. I remembered my Dad and his fears and the prayers I prayed when I could not persuade him to relax. It was in Philippians.
Philippians 4:5-7 (ESV)
The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This prayer gets me through a lot of things. It reminds me of where my hope lies. It does not rest with a man or his implements, but how God might use them for the fulfillment of His plan.
I am reminded through the Word of God and these lyrics that I have a true friend in Jesus. Someone in whom I can have faith and place my trust in no matter how dark the circumstance may seem. The light of Christ Jesus cannot be overcome.
Hebrews 11:1-3 (ESV)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
I place my hope and faith in Christ Jesus.
What a Friend I Have in Jesus
That lyric continues as I write and pray and this passage from John came to mind to kind of wrap things up for me.
John 15:15-17 (ESV)
15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
Jesus says it so well. God goes on later to remind us that we are adopted into the family. What joy and wonder there is in knowing that.
That song and all the thoughts and posts that laid on my heart as I prayed and meditated this morning were such a comfort. The circumstances of this fallen world can be dark and bring sadness to us all. I can no longer fathom how you can make it in this world without Christ Jesus. I am reminded of one last passage. It is a family Psalm that goes back at least to my Dad’s father. It is Psalm 121.
Psalms 121:1-2 (ESV)
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
I love the whole Psalm. But these two verses seem to fit with my thoughts today. I thank God for His love and grace and eternal strength.
Father, Thank you for everything. All Your love and provision. All Your peace and joy. Praise be to You, God. Let me always take everything to You in prayer… EVERYTHING… In Jesus name, I pray, Amen!