Aug 14, 2011

The Love that will not let me go

As I was reading Elisabeth Elliot's The Path of Lonliness, I stumbled upon the story of George Matheson. His experience of desolation, rejection, and pain gave birth to a hymn that has been for many, a "balm of heaven".

Matheson went blind shortly after becoming engaged and his fiance broke off the engagement. Not only was he dealing with personal rejection in his eyes failing him, but he now felt the painful rejection of the one he thought he would live his life with. But instead of wallowing in the deep wasteland of bitterness for the rest of his days, this mighty man allowed God to transform him in his weakness. In the following hymn, it is plain to see that Matheson "gave back his life, restored the light of his life, opened his heart, laid down life's glory". In other words, he totally surrendered his life, which was only able to come when he fully trusted the Joy Giver.

Elliot writes that Matheson's blindess and rejection proved to be the exact means of illumination the Love of God. Instead of drowning in confusing thoughts, self-pity, resentment, bitterness, and and age-old question (Why?), he listed to God's sweet whisper, Trust Me. He sang out to the Love that will never let him go. Now his sweet song can be sung by generations of souls hungering for that same Love. That same Light. That same Joy. And oh, that glorious Cross.

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 by 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 blossom red
Life that shall endless be.
Chris Tomlin has an amazing version of this hymn. You may need to silence my music player at the bottom of the page to be able to stop that music and hear this one.

May we also learn to surrender all that is in our heart. The desires and dreams, but also the painful rejections and bitterness residing in the dark corners of our hearts. May His glorious love and light shine in those hidden areas and fill us with a joy that "seekest [us] through pain". We can then join Matheson in tracing the rainbow through the rain and trusting that there will come a tearless morn.

"...weeping my endure for a night,
but joy cometh in the morning"
[Psalm 30:5]

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Elle Alice