Incredible Story

I love history, especially the obscure or out of the way stories that are all but forgotten – but when told result in something that most of us know of.  What follows is the abridged version of one such story…
In 1844, Joseph M. Scriven was 25 years old and engaged to be married.  The day before his wedding, his fiance died in a drowning accident.  With his heart full of grief, he sailed from Ireland and started a new life in Canada.  Once again he fell in love and became engaged, and once more his fiance fell ill and died before their wedding.

It’s hard to imagine the grief this poor soul had to endure, but through it all he never lost his faith in God.  He never married and he spent the rest of his life preaching for a church and giving his time and money to help the less fortunate.

About the same time that his second fiance had died, he received word that his mother was also ill.  He didn’t have the means to travel back to Ireland to be with her, so he wrote her a poem and letter of comfort and sent it to her.

Many years later a friend was sitting with Joseph who had become very ill himself. During the visit the friend became very impressed with the poems Joseph had written, including the one he had written for his Mother.  Almost 30 years after writing his poem, Joseph’s writings were published in a book titled Hymns and Other Verses.  Soon, noted musician Charles C. Converse read the book and put music to one of the poems – the same poem that Joseph had written for his mother.

After Josephs death, the people of Port Hope, Ontario, Canada – where Joseph had given so much of his life, erected a monument in his honor.  The incredibly humbling and sad life of one man had uplifted the lives of so many others – both during his own time, and for many years after whenever the comforting words of What a Friend We Have in Jesus are sung.