A lesson for us all even if we do not believe.


George Matheson was born in Glasgow, the eldest of eight children.  He had only partial vision as a boy.  By the age of twenty he was completely blind.  When his fiancée learnt he was going blind and that there was nothing the doctors could do, she told him she could not go through life with a blind man.


He never married.

He was helped by a devoted sister throughout his ministry.  She learnt Greek, Latin and Hebrew in order to aid him in his studies.  Despite his handicap, Matheson had a brilliant career at the Glasgow Academy, University of Glasgow and the Church of Scotland Seminary.

When he was forty years old, something bittersweet happened.  His sister married.  Not only did this mean that he lost her companionship – it also brought a fresh reminder of his own heartbreak.  In the midst of this intense sadness, on the eve of his sister’s marriage, he wrote one of the most popular and best loved hymns of the Christian church – ‘O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go’.  He completed the whole work in five minutes and never edited, corrected or retouched it.  ‘This came,’ he wrote, ‘like a day spring from on high.’

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.

Troubles are part of life.  Jesus faced trouble and so did the apostles, David, and all the people of God.  In each of the passages for today we read about lots of troubles.  However, as Matheson’s hymn beautifully articulates, troubles do not have the last word.


Restored after many troubles

Psalm 71:19-24

God does not promise us an easy path.  Life at times can be extremely hard.  The psalmist has seen ‘troubles, many and bitter’ (v.20).  His troubles, pressures and worries were not occasional or trivial.  They were numerous and serious.  He gives us a model of how to respond in these circumstances.

  • Keep trusting

It is easy to trust God when things are going well.  The challenge is to keep trusting in the midst of troubles.  David does not stop believing in the goodness of God: ‘Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like you?’ (v.19).

  • Keep hoping

Troubles do not last forever.  In the midst of his troubles, he has hope that at the end: ‘You will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.  You will increase my honour and comfort me once again’ (vv.20b–21).

  • Keep worshipping

He keeps on praising God in spite of the troubles: ‘I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.  My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you – I, whom you have redeemed’ (vv.22–23).

Lord, there is no one like you.  Your righteousness reaches to the skies.  You have done great things.  Thank you that though we may see troubles many and bitter, you promise to restore our life again.  I praise you for your faithfulness.  My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you – ‘I, whom you have redeemed.’

 Taken from The Bible in One Year by Nickel Gumbel