I Will Not Let You Go

Samuel Medley, 1738-1799

What do you do when your pastor decides to preach on Genesis 32:22-31? Sure, the story of Jacob’s late night wrestling match with a stranger (man? angel? God?) is a common Old Testament story, but there simply aren’t a lot of song options for it.

As I scoured my resources for appropriate hymns (using keywords like “wrestle,” “blessing,” and “dislocated hip”) I stumbled across a hymn text written by Samuel Medley, a rarely sung author of dozens of hymns. This little gem encourages us to follow Jacob’s lead, holding onto God with all our might and not letting go until we are named and blessed by God.

Story songs like this always feel to me like they need a folk melody, so I wrote a tune that might fit in among classic American melodies like those found in Southern Harmony. With its AABA form and limited range, it will be easy to learn and remember. Come to Fuller Ave CRC this Sunday (virtually) and find out if I’m right!

1. As Jacob did in days of old, so will my soul do now; 
I’ll wrestle and on Jesus hold, and will not let him go. 
Like Jacob, I am weak and faint, and overwhelmed with woe: 
Lord, hear and pity my complaint, for I won’t let you go. 

2. I come encouraged by your word, that mercy you will show;
except you bless me, dearest Lord, I will not let you go. 
I come to ask forgiveness free, though I have been your foe; 
except you grant it, Lord, to me, I will not let you go. 

3. I come to tell you of my fears and conflicts here below; 
unless your mercy, Lord, appears, I will not let you go. 
And so I’ll wrestle while I live, a pilgrim here below; 
and when in glory I arrive I will not let you go. 

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