What a friend

My Grandma would have been 100 today. She was born early in the 20th Century during the 1st World War and lived through the 2nd World War, serving as an ambulance driver, and on into the 21st Century.

She had a lively sense of humour and great sense of adventure and one of the great treats of childhood was hearing about the adventures, scrapes and practical jokes she got into.  That sense of adventure stood her in good stead as a forces wife, travelling around the world with my Grandpa who was a medical officer in the RAF, bringing up a family of six children.  They spent time in Singapore, Aden (Yemen), Italy and Germany.

It was in Singapore that she really found her faith in the Lord.  She had grown up in a Christian family. My Great Grandfather was a lay preacher in the Baptist Church at Biggin Hill.  But it was passing by a meeting that her and Grandpa heard people singing to a familiar tune. It was the hymn “What a friend we have in Jesus.”  The church was the Geylang Straits Chinese Church (Now Pentecost Methodist Church).

Years later in a hospital room in Scotland at the end of her life, grandma was tapping out a tune.  We are pretty much certain that it was the same tune.  Through all the ups and downs, changes, blessings and losses of life, Grandma had found the secret of true peace. I mention that as we come to an Advent series on Peace. How can we know peace in the midst of the storm of life? The answer is in these words[1]

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. 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. 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 thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
[1] What a friend we have in Jesus, Joseph M Scriven (1820-1886)

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