Turn on the evening news and your home will be invaded with images of war, disease, famine and cruelty. These stories aren’t just from some distant land. It doesn’t matter where you live. Every nation, state, province, county and town has its own version of corruption, lawlessness and injustice. And if that isn’t enough, many families turn on one another leaving hurting individuals to suffer alone.
Sounds pretty bleak, doesn’t it?
Life’s journey has never been and nor ever will be easy. In the early 1800s, Thomas Moore (1779-1852) wrote a hymn that declares the answer to all problems is to come to Christ for healing and comfort. He called his hymn “Relief in Prayer.” Today, we know this hymn of invitation as “Come, Ye Disconsolate.” Although the words have been modified through the years, the message has remained the same – one of hope and salvation.
Moore didn’t write very many hymns. A friend of the famous poets Lord George Byron and Percy Shelley, Irish Catholic Moore was better known for his romantic ballads, including “Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms” and the patriotic song, “The Minstrel Boy.” The son of a prosperous merchant, Moore studied law, but did not find fulfillment. He was awarded an Admiralty in Bermuda, but that didn’t work out for him either. He eventually devoted his life to literature, was successful and profitable, but he was a poor business manager and died in poverty.
The lyrics found in modern hymnals are two stanzas written by Moore and altered by Thomas Hastings (1784-1872), with a third stanza added by Hastings.
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 heaven 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 Heaven 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 heaven can remove.
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” (II Corinthians 1: 3-5, KJV).