Sunday, January 6, 2008

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

I gave my life to Love and He will not let me go. The hymn "Love That Will Not Let Me Go" was written by George Matheson (1842-1906) right before his sister's wedding. He had been engaged himself a few years earlier, but his fiance called off the wedding when she found out he was going blind. He went blind while he was studying for the ministry, and his sister had been the one who had taken care of him. On the eve of his sister's wedding, he was in a place of despair remembering his unrequited love for his former fiance and knowing that he would be alone after his sister married. Matheson said that all of the sudden these words just came to him like a piercing light penetrating his darkness, and he wrote the whole hymn in just five minutes. Here is an excerpt...

"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."

I first heard this hymn in college right after "I gave back the life I owe" and something about it resonated deep within. After years of traveling through life as pleasure-seeking hedonist, I had finally found the Superior Pleasure or rather He had found me. After a battle with my desire to settle for mud pies rather than experience a holiday at the sea (one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes), I capitulated to Love. As Jim Elliot said, "I gave what I could not keep to gain what I could not lose."

A.W. Tozer writes in The Pursuit of God, "Others before me have gone much farther into these holy mysteries than I have done, but if my fire is not large, it is yet real." Even though many others have gone much deeper in their understanding and knowledge of our unfathomable God, I know that I want to spend my life pursuing and discovering again and again the Holy Mystery of Unending Love. It was a cold day in February when as twenty-year old Sophomore at Mercer University "I yielded my flickering torch to Him" and found my heart set aflame by the intensity of His burning desire. Something real and indescribable transpired within me, and I cannot extinguish the flame. I gave my life to Love and He will not let me go...

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