Wilt Not Let Me Go

Read John 3:16-21

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b NLT)

We live in an utterly broken world. Every time we turn on the news set, we are faced with all sorts of realities that reminds just how wrong things are and how completely out of control we find ourselves. Anything, at any time, can happen to anyone, and there is nothing any of us can do to predict, let alone prevent that from happening.

Along with that reality comes the endless despair we humans often find ourselves in. Oh, sure, we try to hide that. We mask it up with all sorts of things. Nowadays, we use social media to mask our broken lives, by posting things that take people’s eyes off of that suffering. For instance, a person posts puppy and kitty pictures ad nauseum and people think, “Oh, look how happy he is. Such cute pictures.” Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the poster’s only pet died and he lives alone with no one to comfort him.

We mask our sadness in everyway we can. People ask us how we are and we answer “Great…and you.” The truth is, however, we are not great. We are down on our luck, suffering from addiction, going through a divorce, suffering from depression and/or anxiety; yet, our answer to people is, “We are great. Everything is fine.”

In 1882, George Matheson penned the beloved 19th century hymn, O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go, while aloneon the day of his sister’s wedding. He wrote of the experience in this way, “Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering.”[i] No one knows what exactly that “mental suffering” was or what had happened to cause it; however, the fruit of that suffering was a hymn that speaks to me in times of difficulty.

I long have suffered from depression and anxiety. I will for the rest of my life. I have also suffered from other issues as well, such as isolation, adandonment, and finding the love for myself that God wants me, and every human being to have. I have had family and friends turn their backs on me because of this or that. In fact, my being a Christian has caused some people to turn their backs on me.

I am not alone in this either. I know that there are people, like me, who suffer from such things. Many more than actually let on. Thankfully, for me, I have found a LOVE that will never abandon, forsake, fail, nor leave me isolated. That love is, of course, GOD through Jesus Christ. Friends, Christ is the LOVE that “wilt not let me go.” Jesus is the one who saw me through all of those dark years and brought me to the light of His truth: that he is the Lord of all creation, has conquered sin and evil and death, and that through him I AM ALIVE FOREVERMORE.

The same is true for you too. If you but just accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, He will never, EVER abandon you nor forsake you. He will lead you through all trials and struggles and you will stand VICTORIOUS in the midst of the sin, death, and evil that consumes and ravages this world. Remember, Christ is with you always, even until the end of the age. I leave you with the words of George Matheson:

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 thru 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.[ii]

“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” – James Baldwin

Lord, help me to remember that in the midst of my broken life in this broken world, I am not alone because you are with me and will never abandon me. I put my full trust in you. Amen.

[i] The United Methodist Church. “History of Hymns: ‘O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.’” Discipleship Ministries, October 17, 2019. https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-o-love-that-wilt-not-let-me-go. (Accessed March 23, 2023).

[ii] The United Methodist Hymnal. (Nashville: United Methodist Pub. House, 1989), 480.

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