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O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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We collapse in the dust, lying face down in the dirt. Rise up! Help us! Ransom us because of your unfailing love.

Psalm 44:25-26

Today’s reflection is a continuation of yesterday’s. I’ll get back to Luke tomorrow. But as I was meditating upon Psalm 44:25-26, I remembered a deeply moving story that I’d like to share with you. It is one of those “face down in the dirt” stories. And it includes specific mention of dust and God’s love.

The story is about George Matheson, who was born in 1842. A brilliant young man, he showed rich promise as a scholar. But his academic future was scuttled when, at the age of 20, he became totally blind. How could he read or write, the business of a scholar, without eyesight?

The answer to this vexing question came in the form of his sister. She became his “eyes,” even learning Greek, Hebrew, and Latin so as to assist him in his studies. With her help, Matheson became a notable pastor and theologian.

Yet, when Matheson was 40 years old, his sister married. On the night of her wedding, he found himself alone in the manse. In his solitude, Matheson experienced what he described in his journal as “the most severe mental suffering.” He never said more about what this suffering entailed, though it’s not hard to imagine Matheson’s sense of utter aloneness and helplessness, now that his sister had left his side.

In the midst of his suffering, words to a new hymn came miraculously to Matheson’s mind. Here’s how he describes the experience: “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.”

As George Matheson “collapsed in the dust, lying face down in the dirt,” the words to “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go” filled his mind and heart. These words are reproduced below as the closing prayer of this reflection.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever felt God’s presence in a time of deep despair? What helps you to be reassured about God’s love for you when you are suffering?

PRAYER:

“O Love That Wilt Not Let Me 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 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.

Amen.

George Matheson, 1882, public domain

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