Ever heard of him?... Until today, I hadn't either. I'll catch you up though.
It was 1862; George Matheson was twenty-years-old, had a lovely fiance, had already written two books on theology, and was studying for the ministry when he discovered he was going blind. When he broke the news to his fiance, she called the whole thing off-- she simply couldn't go through life with a blind man. Left heart-broken and alone, his sister decided that she would take care of him. However, years past, and she fell in love. The night before her wedding ceremony, Matheson, a blind man with now no one to care for him, sat at home alone while his family went out to celebrate. With all of the wedding festivities happening around him, the question of how he was supposed to survive with no helper reminded him of the girl who, years ago, broke his heart. Matheson's heartache that night produced the hymn below:
O Love That Will Not Let Me GoO 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.
Um. WHOA. That's someone who's got his heart straight. After going through living hell, in 1882, Matheson was still clinging to the cross and proclaiming its glory. That's astounding. One of the best parts of it all is that now, it's 2011, and for the past 129 years, God has been blessing and encouraging hundreds of thousands of people with Matheson's words. If Matheson were here today, would he say his hardship didn't hurt? Probably not. Would he say his hardship was worth it? Without a doubt. In fact, I bet he'd say he'd do it all again.
So, now that you know who George Matheson is, are you convicted? Encouraged? Dumbfounded?... Yeah, me too.