O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

George Matheson went blind at the age of 20 while studying theology to become a minister. He was engaged to be married at the time, but his fiancé pulled out before the wedding. She could not go through with it knowing that she would spend the rest of her life taking care of a blind man. For the next 20 years Matheson’s sister took care of him. Then on June 6, 1882 Matheson found himself alone once more. His sister was married that day and in the evening after the wedding, in the midst of “the most severe mental suffering” Matheson wrote the hymn, O Love That Will Not Let Me Go. Matheson writes of that night,

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.

Matheson never married, yet he lived his life with quiet assurance that divine love would not let him go. In the love of God in Christ, Matheson was able to see that he was not deficient, lacking, or unlovable. God loved him with richer, fuller, brighter, fairer, tearless, endless love; and God would not let him go.

Valentine’s Day is as much a time to mourn unrequited love and love lost as it is a celebration of love. When it comes to our love problems, common wisdom dictates that we should either wait or work harder for true love. In the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God declares that you are freely loved now with richer, fuller, brighter fairer, tearless, endless love; and He will not let you go. So bring your weary soul, your flickering torch, your pain, and your cross to Jesus this Valentine’s Day and be loved.

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.


About David Lee

I am the pastor of New Life Mission Church of Fremont meeting in Newark, CA. I live in Fremont with my wife and three children. In my former life I was a history teacher at Irvington High School in Fremont. I love watching and discussing movies (but not at the same time), playing board games, hiking, visiting local cafes, and watching and complaining about (at the same time) Bay Area sports.
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