Beach Reading for God

By Marti Pechnyo 10/23/2018
Growing up, one of my favorite hymns was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. It’s the lyrics more than the tune for me.  The words talk about when we bear “all our sins and griefs”, when our “friends despise, forsake” us and we’re “cumbered with a load of care” – that’s when we need to “take it to the Lord in prayer”.
I loved the words but I couldn’t relate. I really, really tried but I’d never felt despised or forsaken or weighed down with care and grief. Still, the words were beautiful, and I was aware that lots of other people knew firsthand what those words were describing.
For much of my life, I’ve felt that my problems are nothing compared to what people around me have to face and so I pray for them. I have good health, family, friends, enough money – what do I have to worry God about? I go back to the old hymn and find my way in the rest of the words.

“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.”

There it is! God wants to hear everything! Nothing is too small, too insignificant, or too petty to merit God’s full attention. A good friend of mine calls my minor issues “beach reading for God” – those wonderful gems that just flow through you, the ones you don’t have to work so hard to understand or to solve. So now, when my car’s catalytic converter cover falls off or I forget yet another noun or name or I turn my ankle on the last step, I look heavenward and ask God if she’s ready for another installment of my beach reading. She smiles and always listens.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
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.

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.

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!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.