I teach my girls old hymns during our Bible lesson in homeschool. Just because I want them to know the old hymns -- there's a lot of good stuff in them. This morning, we will be singing my mother's favorite: "What A Friend We Have in Jesus". I used to get annoyed at this song. Too redundant. "Everything to God in prayer . . everything to God in prayer . . everything to . . ." But in recent years, I've had more need to take everything to God in prayer, and now I get it.
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear . . .
That phrase jumped out at me this morning. I've always been grateful for Jesus' willingness to bear my griefs, even when I can't quite figure out how to give them up to him completely. But he also bears our sins. I knew that. Theoretically. But now I'm really pondering that phenomenon.
I'm well aware of my sins. And I'm well aware that there are sins in my life I'm probably not aware of. I have a hard time bearing all my sins sometimes. I see the effects they have on my life, on my family, on my ministries, on my witness. Sometimes the burden of guilt over how I fail can be overwhelming. The fact that Jesus wants to take the burden of my sins -- just like the burden of my griefs -- is cause for great praise.
But the thing is, he doesn't just bear my sins. "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. And not just for ours, but for the sins of the whole world." (James 2) The sins of the whole world. Again, I always knew that intellectually, but the reality of that doesn't always sink in. I know how heavy the burden of my own sin is. But everyone has that burden -- and many people don't have any respite in the fact that Jesus offers to take that burden, which only increases the burden's weight. Yet Jesus bore the sins of the whole world. Every person who has ever lived on the planet, their burden of sin was born by Jesus on the cross.
Wow. That takes a big God to bear up under that. A mighty God. A powerfully loving God. A remarkably merciful God. Wow.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear.
What a privilege to be friends with a God like that.