Tuesday, July 29, 2014

John Piper on William Cowper

This past Sunday, our preacher shared a glimpse into the life of William Cowper (1731–1800).  He suffered from depression (know then as 'insanity') and attempted suicide three times.  Yet, God still used him. 

I was intrigued with the reference to Cowper, and did a little research.  I found ‘Insanity and Spiritual Songs in the Soul of a Saint:  Reflections on the Life of William Cowper’ by John Piper. (http://www.desiringgod.org/biographies/insanity-and-spiritual-songs-in-the-soul-of-a-saint)  There are three reasons he choose to tell the story of Cowper.  This is an excerpt of Piper’s story,
including a beautiful hymn Cowper wrote:

The second reason I am drawn to William Cowper is that I want to know the man behind the hymn, "God Moves In a Mysterious Way." Over the years it has become very precious to me and to many in our church.  (This hymn hangs over our mantle at home. It expresses the foundation of my theology and my life so well that I long to know the man who wrote it.)

"God Moves In a Mysterious Way."

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 purpose will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
the bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain:
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.

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