A friend sent me a link to a song the other day. We used to be in a band together, back in our halcyon university days and, this song has a pretty cool violin/flute riff and it reminded him of the kind of vibe we used to go for in our songs. That’s why he sent it to me.
The song also happens to be a reworking of an old hymn I used to sing in the Presbyterian Church I grew up in – it’s a bit twee but I found myself really enjoying it.
Then it happened. Out of nowhere, I started to feel a little reprimanded;
a little ‘told off’ maybe.
Perhaps that’s too far – I suppose the word I’m looking for would be ‘admonished’.
It’s not really a word we use these days but it best describes what was happening to my heart as the lilting violin/flute harmonies graced my ears.
When that word is used in the New Testament, the sense you get is ‘to put in mind’ – it’s where you get woken up to something you’d been asleep to.
Think of when you’ve fallen into a harmful behavioural habit that’s harming you and others around you – when someone ‘admonishes’ you – they wake you up to it, lovingly, gently – but seriously, they ‘put it in mind’.
Like they hit the fire alarm and the sirens start blasting and the sprinklers start soaking you – you wake up then!
It wasn’t quite like that in this instance – but you get the idea.
The song was ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’ and it’s so simple, yet so astute.
It paints this wonderful picture of Jesus our saviour, burden carrier, our comforter, strengthener (not a word) – and more!
With the repeating line that we can take everything ‘to the Lord in prayer’ – such a great reminder!
You should listen to it – it will do your soul a great deal of good.
But it was this line that got me
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Right. Between. The eyes.
We have access to our friend, Jesus, through prayer, 24/7. And yet I still seem to default to dealing with things in my own strength, carrying my own burdens, relying on my own wisdom and, by doing so, I give up the peace that Jesus promises and the strength he longs to give me.
Wake up Matt!
But one of the beautiful things about knowing Jesus is that he has infinite patience for his children – so my feeling very quickly turned to joy as I sensed some fresh peace and, as I continued to tap my foot along to this twee little hymn, I basked in the (very not twee) truth that Jesus really really loves me and longs for me to take everything to him in prayer.
Here’s the song – I hope it admonishes you too.