John 11:1-45 (Click here to read the full passage)
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
Whether it’s a job, a loved one, a dream or a relationship, a loss is never easy. In one moment the rug can be pulled out from under us. Just last December my husband and I faced a devastating job loss that took us by surprise.
Irish poet Joseph M. Scriven knew the pain of loss very well. In 1843, at the age of 23, he was engaged to be married, but his fiancée accidentally drowned the night before the wedding.*
In 1855, the threat of loss arose again when he received word that his mother was very sick. She was living in Ireland while he was in Canada. In that difficult season, he penned a poem to bring her comfort and anonymously published it in the local newspaper. It struck a chord with readers. Thirteen years later, a man named Charles C. Converse set his words to music and it became the beloved hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”**
Even after losing his fiancée and facing the threat of another loss, Joseph was able to encourage his mother (and all of us) to “take it to the Lord in prayer.” He knew where his source of strength came from.
In John 11, we see how Jesus responded to loss. When sisters Mary and Martha lost their brother Lazarus, Jesus already knew that He would make all things right again, but He didn’t minimize their pain. He wept with them and He weeps with us too as we face the pain of loss.
He is big enough to handle our job losses, our broken dreams, severed relationships, and our loneliness after losing a loved one. The pain of the situation may not immediately disappear, but there is a deep richness gained as we "take it to the Lord in prayer." We strengthen the most important relationship that we will never lose: a loving relationship with God Almighty. One day, on the other side of heaven, He will make all things right.
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Joseph M. Scriven, Charles C. Converse
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 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.