Charles Wesley is said to have written 6,500 hymns and many consider this one to be his firnest. It is interesting, however, that when Charles first presented it to his brother, John, for approval, it was rejected as being too sentimental. It wasn't until after the author's death that this song came into general use. There are various stories concerning the experience that prompted Charles to pen these words, although none has ever been authenticated. It is generally believed that in the fall of 1736 Wesley was caught in a frightening storm at sea and it appeared that all would be lost. Finally the ship safely reached land. Wesley wrote in his journal for that experience "I knelt down and blessed the Hand that had conducted me through such inextricable mazes." Some writers state that during the storm a frightened bird flew into Wesley's cabin and sheltered himself in his bosom for comfort and safety. Another account says that Wesley wrote this text while lying under a hedge, having been beaten up by an angry mob opposing his ministry. Still others see this text as a picture of Wesley's own life as a young man as he struggled to find peace with God before his conversion experience. It is interesting to note that 156 simple one-syllable words appear among the 188 words of the text. The hymn also presents Christ as a "lover", "healer", "refuge", "fountain", "wing", and "pilot" - the all-sufficient One. Many different tunes have been used for this text and if you search on YouTube, you will hear several of them - from classical to contemporary. But no matter how it was written, or how simple it is, or what tune is used, this hymn speaks to the basic need of every human heart, a personal dependence upon the infinite God.
(1) Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
Oh, receive my soul at last.
(2) Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
(3) Wilt Thou not regard my call?
Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—
Lo! on Thee I cast my care.
Reach me out Thy gracious hand!
While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand,
Dying, and behold, I live.
(4) Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name,
Source of all true righteousness;
Thou art evermore the same,
Thou art full of truth and grace.
(5) Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart;
Rise to all eternity.
Listen to a beautiful rendition of this hymn. LISTEN