5 minute friday Linking up with Lisa-Jo and the great group that participates in Five Minute Friday. The main rule is to write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking – on the topic that Lisa-Jo posts about each week.

The topic for this week:  Song

I love music.

So often God uses the lyrics of a song to articulate something I might not yet even be able to give voice to.  Other times, a song serves as a reminder, a prayer, or a challenge.

I love compiling songs and making playlists based on theme.

My playlists typically represent a particular season in my life or what I’m praying for others during a given time.  I’ll listen and rearrange repeatedly until they’re in an order where they flow and fit, ending up with four or five distinct playlists in process at any one time. The modern day ‘mix tape’ I suppose.

As much as I love songs, I love knowing the story behind the songs – whether it’s a brand new song or an old hymn.

The hymn, ‘O Love That Will Not Let Me Go,‘ was written by George Matheson during an extremely difficult season of his life.

Through deteriorating sight, Matheson pushed on and went to school, his sister by his side both caring for him and taking up Greek and Hebrew so George could pursue going into ministry although he was going blind.  An engagement to his fiancé ended when she learned nothing could be done about Matheson’s sight, and she decided she was unable to “go through life with a blind man.”

With so many losses and disappointments, combined with great loneliness, on the eve of his sister’s wedding, Matheson penned the hymn in just five minutes, saying, “The hymn was the fruit of that suffering.”

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

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 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.

The third verse, especially, brings to mind another song I wrote about just a couple of weeks ago.

I’m grateful God gives us the gift of songs to encourage and inspire, challenge and convict, and to speak to us in a way that sometimes nothing else can.