~* GOD MOVES IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY *~
William Cowper, 1731-1800

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
Romans 11:33

Good when He gives, supremely good, nor less when He denies,
Even crosses from His sovereign hand are blessings in disguise.
~Author Unknown~

The hymn "God moves in a Mysterious Way" has been acclaimed as one of the finest songs ever written on the theme of God's providence. This label is made all the more amazing by the fact that the hymn text was written by an English poet who lived a lifetime of mental distress. William Cowper's emotional upsets included an 18-month stay in an asylum, and later in life several attempted suicides. During his time in the asylum, Cowper began reading the Bible. At the age of 33 he made a statement of faith, yet he was still periodically haunted by deep depressions, voices, and visions, and the overwhelming thought that God had forsaken him and would condemn him to Hell.

But between these times of mental melancholia, William Cowper was a gifted writer. Several of his secular works achieved great literary fame. For nearly two decades he worked closely with John Newton in Olney, England, and eventually their combined talents produced the famous Olney Hymns hymnal. In this ambitious collection of 349 hymns, 67 were written by Cowper, including such favorites as "O For a Closer Walk With God" and "There is a Fountain".

"God Moves in a Mysterious Way" was originally titled "Conflict: Light Shining Out of Darkness". It is thought to be Cowper's final hymn text and a reflection of God's leading throughout his own lifetime. There is even speculation that it was written following a failed attempt at suicide. Regardless of the original motivation for their writing, these words have since been used to bring much comfort to God's people for nearly two centuries.



God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow'r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.



*For Today*: Proverbs 16:9, 19:21; Isaiah 40:28; Matthew 10:31

Pause to thank God for the various and perhaps unusual ways He has directed you life to this very moment. Resolve to trust Him more fully in the days ahead.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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