Song of praise in the dark night
But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night Job 35,10 (ESV)
1. The Question of the Creator?
This verse is an excerpt from Elihu’s speech. He wonders why people who are being tried in their lives, like Job, do not turn to God in prayer?
Why don’t many people ask about God giving songs of praise at night?
In Job, the night is a picture of a sudden catastrophe.
It can be an illness. It can be persecution or it can be severe war conditions.
Let’s think of the many people who still have to flee today during the serious armed conflict, such as in Ukraine.
Or think of the devastating shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa, where more than 200 refugees drowned.
Suffering can have many names.
2. Hope in difficult times
Today we could answer Elihu that even in the dark of night many people prayed, sang and bowed their knees to their Creator. …who, in the darkest hour, still gives us hope. Let’s think of the many men and women in church and missionary history who have been through a lot until today.
Currently there is still a great persecution of Christians. Open Doors estimates that tens of millions of people are being persecuted for professing their faith in Jesus Christ. Every day, Christians are humiliated, arrested, abused, killed and their homes burned for their faith. These Christians need our prayers that they may remain steadfast in their faith.
Whether illness, prison or other difficulties. We can know that the Lord is particularly close to us in the most difficult hours. You often hear people say: during my serious illness I was very close to God.
3. Finally, a tragic story
It later became for the whole world – and for us today, a great blessing:
Shortly after graduating from Dublin University, Joseph Scriven became engaged to Alice, a girl from his hometown. But the day before his wedding, she was thrown from her horse into the river on a bridge and drowned. In this great pain he left Ireland at the age of 25 to emigrate to distant Canada. Here he began a new life, working as a school teacher and on the side as a lay preacher.
He wanted to continue to devote his life to Jesus‘ service.
Ten years after his first engagement, he was again preparing for a wedding. But again misfortune befell him. He and Eliza were sailing on the high seas when his fiancee fell into the freezing water.
She got pneumonia and died. One can imagine the grief and doubts Joseph had to deal with. But during this time he wrote a prayer that later became known throughout the world as the song: „What a Friend is Our Jesus.“ The first verse speaks of how Jesus bore our sins and our suffering- and what a privilege it is to bring it all to God. It also speaks of how often we lose peace and therefore have to bear unnecessary pain. Perhaps this song speaks to someone who is in a similar Situation is as it was then Job or Joseph Scriven, wouldn’t it be appropriate to sing this song?
„What a friend is our Jesus“
I would like to share the song in a jazzy version sung by my daughter-in-law Gabriele Waechter:
Author: Egon Waechter