Sometimes I like to go through old hymn books and find treasures long forgotten. I cannot remember how I came to acquire these books...these with the faded covers, worn bindings, and yellowed pages. But I have kept them and I value them. When I find a hymn that catches my attention, I am interested to know the historical background of it. Many hymns, I have found, were written by authors who at the time were suffering physically, emotionally, or spiritually. There are many 'outlets' people choose to cope. Some outlets are destructive. And some, like George Matheson's poem 'O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go' (penned in 1882) was 'the fruit of that suffering'. It is not known what caused Matheson's state of mind during the writing of this. Was it his blindness from an early age? Did it stem from his broken engagement from the past? Or the fact that he never married? Whatever the emotion was, it fueled the writing of this. Within minutes this poem-turned-hymn was written and he never again was able to write something so quickly and has said that it was an 'inward voice' that came through and it wasn't his doing at all. -- O weary soul, His love won't let you or me go.
O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
-George Matheson (1842-1906)
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.