What a Friend We Have in Jesus (1857)
Joseph Medlicott Scriven, 1819-1898
The Canadian author of this hymn had a life that just seemed to be marked by one tragedy after another. He graduated from military college in 1837, and yet had to abandon his military career due to poor health. On the evening before his wedding in 1844, his bride-to-be died in a drowning accident. A few years later, he was engaged a second time to be married. This time, his fiancée died suddenly after a brief illness. Scriven wrote this hymn and sent it to his mother to comfort her in a time of sorrow. As far as is known, this is the only poem that he ever wrote.