A Love That Will Not Let You Go


I am saddened by the amount of troubling news lately. I don’t understand what is going on out there, but I am receiving more and more news of the following:

Men over 35 losing their jobs suddenly

Formerly healthy people now struggling with chronic health issues


 Maybe those are connected. I don’t know. All I know is there’s a lot of hurt happening.

George Matheson was a brilliant theology student and a man engaged to be married. When it became clear he was going blind, his fiancée abandoned him. If blindness were not enough, Matheson’s first book of theology elicited so much harsh criticism for what were deemed small deviations that he was forced to change his career direction. Matheson’s sister took care of him afterward. On the evening before his sister’s wedding, knowing that he was losing his only caretaker, Matheson, at one of the lowest points in his life, wrote these words:

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.

I don’t know what you may be facing, or how much pain you may be in, but there is a Love that will not let you go, Jesus.

I will be 51 soon, and if I have learned one thing in that time, it’s that answers are not always easy to come by. George Matheson went on to do pastoral care ministry in a small church, and I’m sure that was not as he had planned, but it seems he had a knack for it. Because he was bruised himself by the vicissitudes of life, he could help those who suffered their own bruising.

It may be that you are being broken to help those who are broken. Your pain is never wasted. And never forget that Love Himself loves you enough to have taken all your brokenness and failure upon Himself. He was broken to identify with your pain, and He does this more completely than anyone.

The Westminster Chorus singing the David Phelps arrangement of O Love That Will Not Let Me Go in the Petrikirche cathedral in Dortmund, Germany:

7 thoughts on “A Love That Will Not Let You Go

  1. ccinnova

    Thanks, Dan, for the words of encouragement. I also have a birthday coming up in a few weeks, but I’m not sure how much I’ll celebrate this year.

    In recent weeks I’ve been reflecting on the tremendous personal and professional setbacks I’ve endured over the last seven years. These include, but are not limited to, an unjust demotion followed by job loss and a lengthy period of unemployment. I took a significant pay cut when I finally found work again, and I seem to be on a backward professional trajectory. In addition, my schedule precludes participation in most fellowship and recreational activities.

    I also continue dealing with the ramifications of unwanted singleness, something increasing unlikely to change now that I’m in my mid-50’s and dealing with some health issues. A recent comment by the senior pastor in the church bulletin didn’t help; he exhorted single men to pursue single women, as if delay in marriage is somehow all our fault. As someone single by circumstance rather than choice, I didn’t appreciate the rebuke.

    Perhaps somewhere down the line I’ll see how, or if, the Lord will use this for His purposes. Right now I’m wondering what’s going on.

    • ccinnova,

      I know this is no comfort, but I believe that all men in their 50s are looking at an assault on their incomes and professional trajectories. I also think this will begin trending into the mid-40s. The Church in America MUST begin speaking to the ethical ramifications of that assault and start questioning it harder.

      I cannot advise on the singleness issue. If there is one thing going for any man, it’s that women outnumber us, and more so as age increases. I hear you on the ridiculousness of “men, the presence of so many unmarried women in the Church is your fault.” I’ve written on that before, and it takes two to tango. I also think that now is not a great time to be talking marriage–for anyone. It may be better to be single now, but only if more is done to support singles. If the traditional lack of support continues, then marriage may remain the only option, even if it is not the best option, and we really don’t need that right now.

        • Kent,

          I think we are facing economic issues that will make it difficult for families.

          I think couples and families lack the flexibility that will be needed to navigate some of what is coming down the pike.

          I think that unless a single is absolutely unable to make peace with singleness that we have never needed responsible Christian singles more than we do right now.

          I think that Christian singles are positioned to be frontline people like they have not been in the recent past.

          Serious-minded singles just may be the Church’s best hope in the days to come, people who are not encumbered and can react quickly to pressing needs.

  2. Linda

    Hi Dan,
    Those verses are beautiful. We are lost without Christ. We are undone without Christ. Christ is all that is good in us, in truth. Without Jesus we are unredeemable sinners, destined for destruction.

    These verses above are very fitting for an autobiography I am reading right now about Rick Fleck, a life without parole inmate(LWOP). I think that he may be still alive in a prison somewhere in the USA today. Ours is a life worth living for Jesus no matter where life takes us, no matter what our circumstances, etc.

    Death does not praise Jesus. Our job is to live to the glory of His name and to do that every day. To praise the grace and mercies of our Lord and Saviour. To praise God for his creation. To praise God for his justice and righteousness.

    This is a short life. Seventy to eighty years the Bible says. Let’s use this time to read the Bible, pray, be devoted, and love the Lord with all our strength, heart and mind. Nothing is greater than this in life. The riches of the whole world cannot compare to salvation, to cleansing from sin, to a daily walk and experiences with Jesus Christ, to an eternal future because we love the Lord.
    ‘Because he loves me, the Lord says, I will hear and answer him’.

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