October 10, 2021

The Shepherd's Corner

One of the hymns that has become a beloved of many is, “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go,’ written by a 19th century Scottish pastor, George Matheson. Unlike Fanny Crosby who became totally blind at a very young age, Matheson began to suffer partial blindness later in his teens. But that did not stop him from advancing himself. He pursued college education even though for that his two sisters would have to learn Latin and Greek to help him. After college Matheson went for his theological education to become a pastor.

By then he almost lost his eyesight, requiring him to memorize his sermons and the Bible verses he quoted. However, after 12 years of this practice, once, in the middle of his sermon, his memory failed him. Since then, he could no longer memorized his entire sermon. What he did, instead, was he memorized an outline. By the grace of God, he continued ministering and God blessed his ministry. Despite his limitation he wrote many books with deep spiritual insight and many hymns, one of which is “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.”

The song was written in 1882, when he was 40, during the height of his mental anguish, in 5 minutes, yes, five minutes, and he made no corrections or changes afterward. It goes, “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.” And here is the third stanza, “O Joy that seeketh me through pain/I cannot close my heart to Thee/I trace the rainbow through the rain/And feel the promise is not in vain/That morn shall tearless be.”

George Matheson died at the age of 64. He was blind yet he saw. He was limited yet lived a full time. Life is not full of roses, but there are roses; we just have to find them. God has planted them for us.

Pastor Paul

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