TIMELESS HYMNS #2 - A new special feature where every few weeks I choose a hymn that I have written about before, revise and update it, and share it once more because I think it has a powerful message that we need. This one was shared previously on October 6, 2011.
As we come to February, thoughts often turn to Valentines Day and love. I searched for hymns which talk about God's love and I chose this one because of its powerful words and the interesting story behind its writing. It was written by George Matteson (1842-1906) on the evening of his sister's marriage. His whole family had gone to the wedding and had left him alone. Years before, he had been engaged until his fiancee learned that he was going blind, and there was nothing the doctors could do to prevent it. She told him that she could not go through life with a blind man and she left him. He did go blind when he was twenty and while studying for the ministry. His sister had been the one who had taken care of him all of these twenty years. But now she was married and gone. He had been a brilliant student. Some say that if he hadn't gone blind he could have been the leader of the church of Scotland in his day. Before her marriage he turned to the pastoral ministry, and the Lord richly blessed him, finally bringing him to a church where he regularly preached to over 1500 people each week. But he had only been able to do this because of the care of his sister, and now she was married and gone. Who would care for him, a blind man? Not only that, but his sister's marriage brought a fresh reminder of his own heartbreak over his fiancee's refusal to "go through life with a blind man." It was in the midst of this circumstance and intense sadness that the Lord gave him this hymn – written he says in just five minutes! He was 40 when he penned these words. You can almost feel his pain at his human loss, but you can also sense his hope as he realizes that rest for his weary soul will only come from His Lord and that love will never let him go. Are you dealing with the loss a loved one? Do you feel all alone and discouraged? Has a friend or even a family member left you down? Just remember that even when your closest friends disappoint you or even leave you, Jesus is always there. He has promised never to leave or forsake His children. And He never has, and He never will! Meditate on the truth of this hymn this week. Feel the pain but also the hope that Matteson expressed. And be thankful for God's love that never lets us go.
1. O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
2. O light that foll'west all my way,
I yield my flick'ring torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
3. O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
4. O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
You can listen to a beautiful and moving performance of this great hymn here. LISTEN