A couple of days ago, my mom mentioned to me that she had an opportunity to share her favorite hymn with her Bible Study group. I’ve known my mother my entire life, but I didn’t know what her favorite hymn was, so I asked her to send me the words.
The title is “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go,” written in 1882 by George Matheson. Matheson said about this hymn:
My hymn was composed in the manse of Innelan [Argyleshire, Scotland] on the evening of the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone in the manse 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.
Here are the lyrics that poured out from Matheson’s encounter with God that night. They are deep. They are rich. Print them out and meditate on them. Be gripped – overwhelmed- as I was, by the Great Love that will not let us go…
- 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 foll’west all my way,
I yield my flick’ring 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.