The song “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” was written by Charles Wesley. There is a tradition he wrote it while fleeing some attackers who disagreed with his Christian doctrine in the parish of Killyleagh, County Down, Ireland. At one point he was almost discovered, but he slipped through the rear window of a milk house where he had sought refuge, and escaped to a small brook nearby. It was there he is thought to have composed this famous hymn, considered by some the finest in the English language.
Whether or not this tradition is true, we can imagine why someone would think of Jesus this way if his life was in danger. But in truth, one should be even more concerned if his soul is in danger. The Pharisees and scribes had their religious act together, but inside they were “full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean” (Matthew 23:27). Jesus called them “sons of hell” (Matthew 23:15). Still, He loved them. They were too blind to cry out with Wesley, “Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find.” Had they done so, Jesus would have surely gathered them together “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.”
I have heard many people say, “Jesus loves the sinner, not the sin.” Unfortunately, it is the sin that often keeps the sinner from loving Jesus. Ironically, it is natural for us to doubt our Savior’s love when we sin. Our guilt can drive us to the point of despair and even nurture self-destructive behavior. Jesus loves the sinner, but the sinner isn’t sure how to love Jesus in his broken state.
Did you know Jesus is the Lover of your soul? “Wilt Thou not regard my call? Wilt Thou not accept my prayer? Lo! I sink; I faint; I fall – Lo! On Thee I cast my care.”