God Moves in A Mysterious Way
William Cowper, whose poems appear in most collections of great English literature, was beset with emotional problems throughout his life.
They called it melancholy back then. Today we would call it clinical depression. However you diagnose it, the truth was that he often struggled with serious bouts of depression and terrible fits of doubt.
On one unusually low night he decided to commit suicide by drowning himself. He called a cab and told the driver to take him to the Thames River.
While London is known for frequently having thick fog, this night it was unusually dense. It was so think that the cabby could not find the river! After driving around for over an hour, the carriage finally stopped and let Cowper out. To Cowper’s surprise, he found himself right back on his own doorstep.
Cowper could only attribute this to divine intervention. God, in His providence, had sent the fog to keep him from killing himself. Immediately, Cowper went inside and penned the words to his most famous hymn:
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 sov’reign 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.