Some of the wording of this hymn may sound antiquated to the modern ear, but the message is glorious, of a compassionate God who has every answer to every sorrow — to heal, to cure, to remove. The hymnwriter seems to have known how to write of the unfailing, compassionate love of God, but his story tells us he also knew how to live in love.
Many of our great hymns have a story behind them. Though the true measure of a hymn is in the way it conveys Biblical truth, sometimes the story behind the hymn can increase our appreciation for the way it expresses that truth.
In this case, it is not the story of the hymn, but the great love story of the man who wrote it, Thomas Moore, that adds impact. Read the account from Robert Cottrill at Wordwise Hymns first, to get a glimpse of Moore’s heart. Then read (or sing) the words (the first two verses were Moore’s) for another glimpse. (Pastor Cottrill linked to this music video on his Thomas Moore page, so we have him to thank for the music as well as the story today. :))
Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish –
Come to the mercy-seat, fervently kneel;
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish:
Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal.
Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
‘Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot cure.’
Here see the Bread of Life, see waters flowing
Forth from the throne of God, pure from above;
Come to the feast of love – come ever knowing
Earth has no sorrow but heav’n can remove.
1, 2-Thomas Moore, 1779-1852
3-Thomas Hastings, 1784-1872
Music: Samuel Webbe, 1740-1816