Thursday, July 10, 2014



Nowadays it is so easy to keep in touch (almost instantaneously!) with friends all over the world. Gone perhaps are the “Nights in white satin / never reaching the end. Letters I’ve written / never meaning to send. (Moody Blues). Few take the time to put pen to paper anymore. Now it is finger to keyboard or touch-screen to “like” or to “share” as you dialogue with friends. And it only takes the press of a button to “unfriend” someone you have gone off! Old acquaintances from schools and hometowns are being renewed. Like never before people are catching up the missing years and decades via the Internet. It is all so easy to reunite with long-lost friends.

I can relate to Joseph M Scriven sending letters from Canada to his mother. In one letter he wrote some words that were to become the well-known hymn, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” Scriven, for his mother’s comfort, penned the words of that hymn. But how many nowadays refuse to have Jesus as a friend, or witnessing little or zero activity or interaction from Him in their lives “unfriend” Him?

I still get teary whenever I think of the pain I caused my own (now deceased) mother. I found out many decades later that she spent three days in heart-broken sobs in her room after she had farewelled me to Canada. Alas! and she never got to see her grandchildren growing up. Now a grandparent myself I can see how much my spirit of wanderlust deprived her of that honour and joy! Oh that I could have written such comforting words to mother as in “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.”

God called Abraham and Moses “friends” and God-with-us calls His disciples “friends.” He never “unfriends” us. Once reconciled to God by Jesus Christ His friends are His friends forever. Never will He leave us or forsake us. He is with us always. If I could have only one friend I would make sure that friend was Jesus.

As the pre-incarnate Christ He went with Abraham on his travels and even sat down to a meal with him. He spoke to Moses from a burning bush and met with Him on the mountain speaking to him face to face. He travelled with them in the pillar of fire and of cloud.

Friends, true friends displaying true friendship, are but faint pictures of Jesus and those for whom He shed His blood. He died for His friends. Nay, He died for His enemies so that He could make them His friends! Yet He invites all of us to be His friends. We can confirm or decline His “friend request.” Who is Jesus to you? Is He just some religious guy you were briefly introduced to as a child at church, school or Sunday school? Was He just an acquaintance of your parents perhaps?

With Jesus as a friend you are in touch with God instantaneously! As a friend He will not judge your every move. For your comfort as a friend He has sent you the letters He has written. In them He shows you how much He loves you as a friend. If you are His friend you have everlasting life and will be raised bodily on the Last Day to dwell with Him and the rest of His friends forever on the New Earth.

Yes, what a friend we have in Jesus!