Thursday, September 25

A Love That Will Not Let Go

On the evening of his sister’s wedding, George Matheson sat alone in the parsonage. Totally blind by the age of 20, this Scottish preacher, author, and hymn writer, who lived from 1842 to 1906, was left to fend for himself, while the rest of his family spent the night in another town.

Born with poor eyesight, Dr. Matheson’s vision had gradually declined over the years until he lost it completely. His sister had always taken care of him and now that she was married, he would be without her.

While sitting there alone, he had a deep wrenching in his soul, a severe mental anguish, which he never confided the source to anyone. Part of the reason for his anguish may have been that, as his thoughts lingered on his sister’s wedding, he remembered the pain of having a sweetheart who, after hearing the doctor’s report that George would become totally blind by the age of 20, could not handle taking care of a blind man the rest of her life, so, she left him.

As he sat there that dark evening in anguish, a song welled up within him from that still, small voice of the Lord, which he quickly jotted down in five minutes time, composing all the stanzas, which included these beautiful words:

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.

Though human love has the potential to disappoint and depart from us, God’s love will never let us go. He says, “I have loved you, O My people, with an everlasting love; with loving-kindness I have drawn you to Me.” (Jer. 31:3 TLB)

On occasion, we tend to forget that God really does love us, that He is always present in our darkest hours, and that He has a purpose for everything, for He “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.” (Eph. 1:11b NIV)

When we struggle with physical conditions and wonder why we are not healed, when we wrestle with circumstances beyond our control, when we suffer some heart-breaking pain, we would do well to remember the words of this blind preacher’s prayer:

I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses,
but never once for my ‘thorn’…
Teach me the glory of my cross;
teach me the value of my thorn.
Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain.
Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.

How many of us have this attitude in our darkest hours of affliction? How many times have we endured a trial or difficult period, all the while whining and complaining? How often do we thank God for those things He allows to remain in our lives, as Paul’s thorn in the flesh?

Have you thanked Him for all your disappointments, the slammed doors, the hurts, the answers to prayer He withheld from you, and asked that He would reveal His greater purpose and plan for you?

Just as Paul’s thorn, these prickly briers of life serve God’s purpose, when we rely on Him to show us that intended design. As we trust Him, every weight of a cross will bring glory to God, every thorn will disclose its value, every tear will convert to a rainbow, every Jordan barrier will become an open portal, every pit will have its golden nuggets, and every hill of difficulty will become a mount of deliverance.

Then, we can sing those beautiful words:

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.
7 Responses
  1. monica Says:

    hey, Lynne (is there an "e"? can't remember. ack!)

    I'm doing a link exchange too, want to trade?


    PS where is your email addy? sorry to clutter up your comments.

  2. MistiPearl Says:

    This was a beautiful post. A wonderfully gentle reminder to thank God even in my weaknesses and trials.

  3. Rita Gerlach Says:

    Lynn, a beautiful post. Thank you for reminding your readers that God's love is always with us, through the good and the bad, the calm and the storm.

    I've added your blog link to my blog page.
    Inspire / The Musings of a Historical Fiction Writer:

    Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers:

  4. Toni Mabry Says:

    I needed to read this. Thanks --Toni

  5. Katharine Says:

    Such a beautiful hymn. Thanks for telling the story behind it. I hadn't realized that George Matheson was blind. My pastor preached this morning from Eccesiastes, noting that (surprise) we are not in control... but God IS.

  6. lynnmosher Says:

    Toni, Thanks so much!

  7. lynnmosher Says:

    Thanks so much, Katharine. Blessings...