O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30

O Love that will 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.

There’s nothing quite like starting your day at Camp Greystone. What a joy it is to move from Breakfast Club with Jimboy to worshiping the Lord at Morning Assembly. I always enjoy singing and hearing the campers sing sweet praises to our God and King. I especially love it when we sing the hymn “O Love that Will Not Let Me Go” by George Matheson. It is perhaps my favorite hymn of all. I love hymns because of the their lyrical depth and the stories that they tell.

In the summer of 1882, on the evening of his sister’s wedding, George Mattheson wrote this great hymn. While studying for ministry at the University of Glasgow, George’s eyesight failed him and he became completely blind. When his bride-to-be learned that he had lost his sight and there was no medical cure, she broke off the wedding. She told him that she could not go through life married to a blind man.

George’s sister moved in with him. For many years she devoted herself to taking care of George and the house but the time for her to leave finally came. She was getting married and beginning a new life. George’s whole family set out to celebrate his sister’s wedding and he was left home alone. That very evening George wrote his hymn.

He said, “[The hymn] was composed with extreme rapidity; it seemed to me that its construction occupied only a few minutes, and I felt rather in the position of one who was being dictated to than an original artist. I was suffering from extreme mental distress, and the hymn was the fruit of pain.” “O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee.” George said that the hymn took him five minutes to write. It was the only hymn he ever wrote that required no editing.

In John 16 Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble.” I Peter 4 tells us that trials will come. We must not be surprised. Suffering is certain and unavoidable.

JC Ryle, the first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, wrote: “The World is a place where there is much crying and things do not always go pleasantly. I hear many boys and girls talking of pleasures they will have when they are men and women. I am sorry for them when I hear them talking this way. I know they are mistaken. I know they will be disappointed. They will find when they grow up, that they cannot get through the world without many troubles and cares. There are no roses without thorns. There are no years without dark and rainy days. There is no living on earth without crying and tears.”

Truths like these are hard to hear but we would do well to take them to heart. Take heart my friends, though our suffering may be great, our Savior is greater.

The Lord Jesus is the Dear Lover of our souls. He holds us tightly in His grip. He follows after us with His steadfast love. He seeks us in the midst of our darkness and pain. He lifts our heads when we lose our strength. He will never, ever let us go.

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