Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go...George Matheson
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.
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.
Written in five minutes in June of 1881 by George Matheson on the evening of his sister's wedding - a ceremony he was not allowed to attend. He was blind.
Years earlier, Matheson, a promising young theologian, was engaged to be married himself when his eyes gave way. There was no reason behind it; he just started losing his sight. Doctors were at a loss. Learning of her fiance's fate, she broke off the enagement. She told Matheson she could not go through life with a blindman.
Crushed, he poured himself deeper into his studies. He wrote a book, brilliant in places; however, because of his poor eyesight, there were also unmistakeable errors. Critics took him to task. His second dream dashed to pieces.
During this time, his sister had taken care of him. With her help, he was able to take a pastoral position and began speaking to a reported 1,500+ people a week. But she was no longer to be there for him. Even this opportunity was slipping away. And tonight, this night, she was getting married. His family had left him at home.
It was in the midst of this that he wrote these words...O love that will not let me go, I rest me weary soul in thee...O Joy you seek me through the 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...
Matheson once wrote that his was “an obstructed life, a circumscribed life…but a life of quenchless hopefulness, a life which has beaten persistently against the cage of circumstance, and which even at the time of abandoned work has said not “Good night” but “Good morning.”
George Matheson now has eyes. He lives in a land of everlasting mornings. I hope to meet him someday. Until then, thank you, sir. Thanks for persevering through trial after trial, for leaving this song and for living with quenchless hope.
To hear and see a recent rendition with Sandra McCracken and Derek Webb go to