The Man Who Wrote God Moves In Mysterious Ways…suffered from debilitating depression

William Cowper was a hymn writer.  He wrote this excerpt describing his bout with severe depression:

(I was struck) with such a dejection of spirits, as none but they who have felt the same, can have the least conception of. Day and night I was upon the rack, lying down in horror, and rising up in despair. I presently lost all relish for those studies, to which before I had been closely attached; the classics had no longer any charms for me; I had need of something more salutary than amusement, but I had not one to direct me where to find it.

William suffered from depression his entire life.  Despite his depression he wrote beautiful hymns for God’s glory, and for the church to use to worship God.  So though his words were used to describe severe depression they were also used to write this:

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.
I was struck with a dejection of spirits–His wonders to perform.
Day and night I was upon the rack–He treasures up his bright designs and works his sovereign will.
Lying down in horror–The clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.
Rising up in despair–Trust him for his grace; behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.
I lost all relish–the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
The classics no longer had any charms for me–blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan his work in vain.
I had need of something more salutary than amusement–God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain.
I believe we can learn a lot from William Cowper, the writer of God Moves In a Mysterious Way.  I have been upon the rack, lying down in horror and rising up in despair.  The words of this hymn give me encouragement, and help me to see that faith is about trusting God in those times when we feel despair.  We are faithful when we trust God in our despair, and we trust in His purposes for our life.
Don’t give up.  Trust Him for his grace.
Marcy Pedersen

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