JESUS, LOVER OF MY SOUL
Charles Wesley, 1707–1788
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7)
The universal recognition of a personal dependence upon the infinite God has no doubt made this appealing hymn the best loved of the more than 6500 texts of Charles Wesley. Written shortly after Charles’ “heart-warming” experience at the Adlersgate Hall in London in 1738, this text has since brought comfort and inspiration to countless numbers during “the storms of life.”
The simple yet vivid language of this hymn gives it a special quality. Some have called it the “finest heart-hymn in the English language.” Also the exaltation of Christ is truly noteworthy in such picturesque terms as “lover,” “healer,” “fountain,” “wing,” and “pilot.” But possibly the greatest appeal of these lines is the assurance they give of Christ’s consolation and protection through all of life and then for eternity.
There is no authenticated information as to what particular situation caused Wesley to write this text. A frightening storm at sea that he experienced while returning home from America may account for the nautical references. A story also has been mentioned of a bird flying into Charles’ cabin for safety, while another incident is given of his hiding under a hedge after an attack by an angry mob opposing his ministry. Still others see this text as a picture of Wesley’s own life as a young man as he struggled to find his peace with God before his dramatic Aldersgate conversion experience.
How important it is that we learn the truth taught in these words!
Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly. While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high! Hide me, O my Savior, hide—till the storm of life is past; safe into the haven guide, O receive my soul at last!
Other refuge have I none—hangs my helpless soul on Thee. Leave, ah, leave me not alone; still support and comfort me! All my trust on Thee is stayed—All my help from Thee I bring. Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing.
Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find. Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick and lead the blind. Just and holy is Thy name—I am all unrighteousness; false and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.
Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin; let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within. Thou of life the fountain art— Freely let me take of Thee; spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.
Psalm 37:39, 40; 2 Corinthians 1:3–7; Revelation 7:17
Remember to fly to Christ for refuge whenever the “storm of life” becomes overwhelming. He alone is our refuge and the one true foundation of life.