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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

O God, in a mysterious way
great wonders you perform.
You plant your footsteps in the sea
and ride upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
of never-failing skill,
you treasure up your bright designs
and work your sovereign will.

O fearful saints, fresh courage take.
The clouds you so much dread
are big with mercy and shall break
in blessings on your head.

Our unbelief is sure to err
and scan your work in vain.
You are your own interpreter,
and you will make it plain.

William Cowper’s “O God, in a Mysterious Way”
(tune: Dundee)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

To really appreciate the beauty of this hymn and the depth of Cowper’s words, you need to understand William Cowper. William, raised by his father after his mother died at a young age, struggled with severe depression throughout his entire life and even attempted suicide on several occasions. It was while he was staying at St. Albans Asylum in the late 1700s that he came to know Christ after coming across a Bible on a park bench.

This hymn really expresses an everlasting trust in Christ. The pain that Cowper endured during those times of deep despair and the faith that came out of it is truly remarkable.

“The clouds you so much dread are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.” I love this verse; how beautiful! Yes, we all have dark clouds, but the shower of blessings that can come are worth the pain because God’s “sovereign will” is for us all.

Lord, this walk of faith can be very difficult at times, especially when I feel there is no relief to my struggles. Please help me to always remember your grace and that you orchestrate every piece of my life and day for your good. Amen.

Written by Ashley Elskus, Director,
The Center for Life and Learning

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