Before yesterday’s church service, I had nearly forgotten about this beautiful, old hymn. Each line I sang grew sweeter and sweeter so that I didn’t want it to end. Incidentally, it nearly didn’t! The church I visited sang it not once, not twice, but three times between both the am and pm services! (And no, it wasn’t because that’s the only song their pianist can play, though I’ve heard stories where that was the case elsewhere. But I digress…)
The writer of this hymn, George Matheson (1842-1906), was a Scottish minister, born with poor eye sight that only worsened as he aged, to the point that he was nearly blind in his later years. However, because of his ability to memorize Scripture, often time listeners were unaware of his visual condition!
He wrote this hymn in 1882 in about a five-minute time span. I especially like the third verse on joy, and the line “I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be”.
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.
For a slow, contemplative version, listen to and sing along with this clip from Youtube.