Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Love That Will Not Let Me Go

Sundays are always tear filled days. I have an immense amount of bottled up emotion that the hymns and prayers unleash. 

Right before communion, we read this creed together, Heidelberg Catechism #26:

What do you believe when you say,
   "I believe in God, the Father almighty,
   creator of heaven and earth"?
 That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
      who out of nothing created heaven and earth
      and everything in them,
      who still upholds and rules them
      by his eternal counsel and providence,
   is my God and Father
      because of Christ his Son.
   I trust him so much that I do not doubt
      he will provide
      whatever I need
      for body and soul,
      and he will turn to my good
      whatever adversity he sends me
      in this sad world.
   He is able to do this because he is almighty God;
   he desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.
The immensity of what I'm affirming, and the experience we've had walking through  adversity, and the experienced faithfulness of God bring me to tears. Everything within me believes He is Almighty and Faithful. 
We also sang "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go". 

And today I found this:
"History of Hymn
“O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” written on the evening of Matheson’s sister’s marriage. His whole family had went to the wedding and had left him alone. And he writes of something which had happened to him that caused immense mental anguish. There is a story of how years before, he had been engaged until his fiancé learned that he was going blind, and there was nothing the doctors could do, and she told him that she could not go through life with a blind man. He went blind while studying for the ministry, and his sister had been the one who had taken care of him all these years, but now she is gone. 

He had been a brilliant student, some say that if he hadn’t went blind he could have been the leader of the church of Scotland in his day. He had written a learned work on German theology and then wrote “The Growth of The Spirit of Christianity.” Louis Benson says this was a brilliant book but with some major mistakes in it. When some critics pointed out the mistakes and charged him with being an inaccurate student he was heartbroken. One of his friends wrote,“When he saw that for the purposes of scholarship his blindness was a fatal hindrance, he withdrew from the field – not without pangs, but finally.” 

So he turned to the pastoral ministry, and the Lord has richly blessed him, finally bringing him to a church where he regularly preached to over 1500 people each week. But he was only able to do this because of the care of his sister and now she was married and gone. Who will care for him, a blind man? Not only that, but his sister’s marriage brought fresh reminder of his own heartbreak, over his fiancé’s refusal to “go through life with a blind man.” It is the midst of this circumstance and intense sadness that the Lord gives him this hymn – written he says in 5 minutes! Looking back over his life, he 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.” 

How could he maintain quenchless hopefulness in the midst of such circumstances and trials? His hymn gives us a clue. “I trace the rainbow in the rain, and feel the promise is not vain” The rainbow image is not for him “If the Lord gives you lemons make lemonade” but a picture of the Lord’s commitment! It is a picture of the battle bow that appears when the skies are darkening and threaten to open up and flood the world again in judgment. But then we see that the battle bow is turned not towards us – but toward the Lord Himself!"
from http://www.igracemusic.com/hymnbook/hymns/o08.html

I can identify with Matheson. Very much so. 


Anne said...

Beautiful Angie.

I often wonder if I would turn against God if he were to take my sight or hearing or my ability to walk. I'm a very independent person, so anything that would make me dependent upon others would be very hard for me. I would hope that I would be more like Matheson than like my true, human-natured self.

Zach said...

I first learned this song in college and it has since been my favorite hymn. I always look it up in the hymnal when we visit different churches to see if it's there because I find it so beautiful and comforting in a very sad kind of way.

We continue to pray for you and your husband.