“the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” Jeremiah 31:3
George Matheson, a student at the University of Scotland, was taken with an eye disease. He was losing his eyesight. A beloved professor came to him and said, “George, the doctors told me that it’s my responsibility to tell you that in three days you will be blind. If there is any face you want to look upon, do it now.” George wrote to his beloved fiancée and asked, “Would you come to my side? I want to look into your face before I go blind.”
She wrote back, “If you are going blind, I don’t want to be married to you” and broke the engagement. George was crushed, but he went on to graduate from the university at age 19. Out of that pain, he wrote one of the most beautiful hymns ever written:
“O 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 glow 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.”
Though blind, he became a mighty minister of the Gospel of Christ. This crushing experience allowed him to touch the world. The words to this hymn came to George in a total of five minutes, and he never had to go back and edit them.
We all experience painful losses in our lives. How we choose to handle them is key to what happens next.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
1 Peter 4:12-13