…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

By Eric Chaffey


Sometimes there are days when we just want to let go, and give up. Some days we feel like we’re all spent and can do no more to further our own progression or the work of God. But then there are the days that the love which never lets us go reaches down and reminds us of where we came from and how much he wants us back. And it is often through loving friends both seen and beyond our mortal sight that he meets our need.

I had the experience this last week of traveling to Ashland from my present home in Sacramento. It was about a six hour drive. I had practically grown up in Ashland and had spent most of my life there. Longer in Ashland than anywhere else I lived. As a result I had many friends in Ashland and it was wonderful to get to see them again and for a little while not worry about life circumstances which had been kind of overwhelming to me. While I was there, I was able to receive a priesthood blessing from two good friends of mine. Most of the time I hung out with a far different crowd, but periodically we got together at church. The other night those two friends we able to give me a much needed priesthood blessing.

As I reflected on this experience, I thought of the poet and Church of Scotland minister George Matheson. He was a great scholar and preacher and with his ability to memorize things very few people realized that he was blind. He had been born with some sight, but by the time he was in his late teens he was all but completely blind. He had been engaged to a woman, who upon realizing his blindness decided that she could not marry a blind man. No doubt he must have been devastated by this treatment. One evening he was all alone in his home as the rest of the family had gone off to celebrate his sister’s marriage. Left alone and feeling quite discouraged, he was blessed by an inspiration that would become a much beloved hymn called, “O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go.” He tells of writing this hymn as if an angel were dictating the text to him and was completed in about five minutes.

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’s 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 it’s light 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 Lord who liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I  lay in dust life’s glory by,
and from the ground there blossoms nigh, life that shall endless be.

This hymn has always been a favorite of mine. The text is a gentle reminder that even when all hell is breaking lose our loving Father in Heaven will not let us go. And weather it’s through unseen angels from the other side, or beloved friends who reach out a hand to help, he is always there and we can take encouragement from the fact that there his love is never failing.

I wrote the attached hymn prelude at such a time for me when things were going badly. After  a particularly difficult day at school I retreated to the organ practice studio and as was my habit to play a hymn at the beginning of organ practice I found this one in an old Presbyterian hymnal. I had learned it years earlier in another context, but on this particular occasion the text was just what I needed to hear. O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

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One Response to “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”

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