I was given this song while ministering to some men in the Prince Albert Correctional in 1976. I cried, and they cried. I felt for them and they with me. God only knows how this song affected them in time.
Life’s a road that is hard to travel when you’re lonesome;
Everybody just wants to do his own thing.
And it’s hard when you don’t know just where you’re going
‘Cause when you’re through, you don’t know what the end will bring.
I’ve got a Friend Whom I know I can always count on
And that Friend will never let you down.
He’ll take you by your hand just as you are and guide you
And at the end of that road you’ll have a crown.
Some people think they’ve gone too far and there’s no hope left.
Some say they’ve tried most everything to no avail,
But let me tell you friend, I know I’ve got the answer:
Only Jesus Christ can help you on life’s trail.
Now when you hear His voice and take His invitation,
He’ll tell you who you are and where you’re heading to,
And He’ll fill your heart with love and joy and laughter
And with peace that passes understanding too.
Prince Albert, SK; June 1976
There exists the notion that victory speaks only of joy, peace, love, rest in their counterfeit forms, the wishy-washy, mushy-gushy kind that has no place in reality. This song expresses the reality. There is war before victory. With war comes bloodshed, hard times, threatenings, loss and destruction, but the victory is there in real terms, earned and established by the Lord.
We met Alan Gilbert, a young man who had been in a terrible car accident which left terrible consequences on body and mind. While he would put on a brave face, we knew it was a put-on. This song came to confront him with reality and to encourage him to repent and believe. He went away apparently as hardened as ever. The mystery of iniquity is something at which to marvel.
The interesting thing about this song was that at the time it came to me, I had no thoughts, feelings, identification, circumstances, reason, or remembrance of the past to inspire the words; I just woke up and wrote them – no music, just words, if I recall correctly. I just laid the words aside, thinking no more of them until 2016, almost 6 years later. The words were a puzzle to me; I didn't know what to think of or do with them. They didn't express at all how I felt when I received them or when I returned to them years later – those days were long gone. But after I just happened to listen to a song or two by the late Amy Winehouse (not my usual custom by far), who impressed me with her unabashedness, freedom from self-consciousness or effort to sing creatively, I considered those words given me and put them to music. The spirit of the music seemed to be inspired by Amy, a troubled lady who was also crying for help but wasn't blessed to find it in this life. I wished I could have helped her. I then suddenly realized the song expressed exactly how I had felt in 1972 before I was converted. The song was a prequel to the time of newfound joy and freedom in Jesus Christ. Wow! I was thrilled at the realization. But for what purpose the song? I knew the song expressed how many, if not all, feel just before they meet the Lord. They're searching, troubled, lost, confounded, disoriented, not knowing up from down, sorrowful, without direction or purpose. It's a painful time -...