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Weekly Devotion - What a Friend We Have in Jesus

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What a Friend We Have in Jesus

By Rev. Kris Kunkel

Groundhogs Day! Deja Vu! Same old, same old! Here we go again! Been there, done that! Chasing my tail! 
Ever have that feeling?  Ever sat with someone with that feeling?  Ever wondered how long?  Ever wished this feeling, this depression, this addiction, or illness or nightmare would pass?  Will life ever be ‘normal’ again?
The Holy Spirit, through the writer of my devotional today, gave me a very timely treasure: 
“When we find ourselves in life’s “waiting room”, it can feel like we are just biding time, like our life is on hold and we are stuck until some kind of change occurs. The future looms ahead indefinitely while we struggle to find purpose in the present and strength to embrace a new norm! Yet God speaks purpose into our very existence in every moment of life. And He wants to firm up those marathon muscles that might feel weak. How are you waiting out this current season of life? In what area might you ask God to give you strength?”
(Jenni Gilbert, YouVersion- Cries of the Heart from the Psalms
For me, I need Jesus! I need Jesus in the everyday moments and the mundane movements and the ‘manic’ minutes. That is the reason this hymn speaks so deeply to my soul. 
 Verse 1:
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!

The disciple John tells of an encounter (John 4:43-54) between a father, a dying son, and Jesus. An encounter of intense need, exhausted emotion, trembling fear and desperate pleading carried to God in the flesh - Jesus the Messiah! 
The father trusts the power of a simple word spoken by Jesus “go back home, your son will live” which heals his dying boy miles away. Present faith grows into eternal Hope and confident, forever life! 
Verse 2:
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!
A friend that is closer than a brother; a friend who enters into my pain, hurt, tears and soul to be present. Not to judge or condemn but to bring grace and Hope. Can we find a friend so faithful? 
The disciple John tells another story (John 5:1-15) of a 38-year-old crippled man who wondered if he would ever find a friend so faithful who understands his weakness and shares his sorrow. Did anyone care? Did anyone notice him? This time not waiting to be approached, Jesus notices the trial, the trouble the discouragement and stops; intentionally steps aside from his daily journey and into the heart of the 38-year-old cripple’s weakness to heal and offer eternal hope.  “Would you like to get well” Jesus asks. 
How about you and I. Would you like to get well?  Can I find a friend so faithful who knows my every weakness and loves me still?  Can you? Yes, his name is Jesus!
Verse 3:
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 your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield you;
you will find a solace there.

Prayer: Dearest Lord Jesus, I’m stuck and need you. I’m loaded up with a heavy weight and burdened with care. Like the crippled man I wonder, ‘do you see?  Do you care? Do you know? Do you understand?’ I come to you because I need you. Like the father with a dying son, like the man suffering years in isolation and loneliness, I need you as a friend by my side. Will you take me in your arms and shield me?! I need your solace in this time and these moments. Thank you for promising to never leave me or abandon me, but to shield, comfort and bear my struggle and sin. I trust you are with me even now, Lord Jesus. Amen.