I have a text addiction. I read print compulsively. I am the kind of person who not only reads any and all books, magazines, and instruction manuals lying around, but who ALSO is unable to resist reading, for example, the small print on the back of the toothpaste container. Yes, I know it's boring. I read it anyway.
After about two years' worth of overnight visits to my grandparents', I had read all of my Dad's old history books, my Aunt's Harlequin romance novels, my Grammy's Chicken Soup books, and her cookbooks. My uncle's sports books had, strangely,. no attraction to me whatsoever. So I started reading my Grammy's collection of Guideposts magazine. She had issues she had saved from since before I was born!
I have to confess, I was a very arrogant young person. I sneered at the feel-good, I Believe In Angels, But I Try Not to Actually Think About Anything Too Hard kind of theology that a lot of the Guideposts stories exhibited. I especially sneered at the first verse of the poem "God Moves In A Mysterious Way," which appeared in every issue at the head of a short account of some miraculous cure or something.
Then I grew up, and had Issues, and lost some of my superior attitude, and read the whole poem, and the story behind it, and now it is one of my favourite hymns.
You see, the poet who wrote the words, William Cowper (that's COO-per, not COW-per), was a devoted Christian who wrote the words to many hymns. He also struggled with depression throughout his life. He spent a period in a mental institution (not a happy place to be in the 18th century), and attempted suicide at least once. Throughout his life, Cowper struggled with doubts about his own faith and salvation.
And he wrote this 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 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 (interpret) His work in vain.
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
Dear Reader, surely this poem is not about the way God can miraculously cure someone suffering from cancer (although I believe He has done so, more than once). This poem offers encouragement to someone who sees no cure in sight. What a beautiful affirmation! What an encouraging reminder of the truth that it is God who saves us. That we may be overcome by our circumstances or feelings, but that God has a good and beautiful plan that He is accomplishing. We can trust Him, even when we cannot trust ourselves, if that makes sense. God can save someone like Cowper. God can use someone with a faith that seems feeble, at times even inadequate, to encourage hundreds of Christians. To bear witness to His goodness and His faithfulness. I may be tempted by despair, but I know that a good God holds my life in His hand. Even the dark bits of it. Not because of my faithfulness, but because of his faithfulness, "all shall be very well."
And if you haven't read my Mom's latest, do so!
4 months ago