~* O LOVE THAT WILT NOT LET ME GO *~
George Matheson, 1842-1902
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
The writing of this thoughtful and artistically constructed text is most remarkable! It was authored by an esteemed Scottish minister who was totally blind and who
described the writing as the "fruit of much mental suffering". Many conjectures have been made regarding the cause of the "mental suffering". Thankfully, Dr.
George Matheson did leave this account:
"My hymn was composed in Innelan on the evening of the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone at that time. It was the night of my sister's
marriage, and the rest of the family were staying overnight in Glasgow. Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the
most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering. It was the quickest bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the impression of having it dictated
to me by some inward voice rather than of working it out myself. I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes, and equally sure that it never
received at my hands any retouching or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm. All the other verses I have ever written are manufactured articles; this came like
a dayspring from on high."
A very popular account for the writing of this hymn, though never fully substantiated, claims that it was the result of the reminder at his sister's wedding of the great
disappointment that Matheson had experienced just before he was to have been married to his college fiancee. When told of his impending total blindness, she is
said to have informed him, "I do not wish to be the wife of a blind preacher."
It is very possible that the lingering memory of this rejection from an earthly love prompted George Matheson to write this beautiful expression of an eternal love that
will never be broken:
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.
O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
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.
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.
*For Today*: Romans 8:35-39; I John 3:1; Revelation 1:5 & 6
Rest securely in God's eternal love, regardless of the human difficulty or suffering you may be experiencing.
Music url: The Cyber Hymnal
Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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