Struggles and Songs

Psalm 13:5 “My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation”

William Cowper (pronounced “Cooper”) an 18th century English poet and hymn writer (1731-1800), struggled with recurring bouts of depression throughout his life. Perhaps that’s why his hymns still touch us deeply during times when our life seems to be spinning out of control and we desperately want to trust God.

One of Cowper’s best-known hymns, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” contain these encouraging words:

Ye fearful saints, fresh with courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.stockvault-sunset116418

We often imagine that the triumhpal songs of faith were penned by people who had already overcome struggles. But the Bible’s songbook – Psalms – reminds us that the anguished cries of “How long, O Lord?”Will you forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” sometimes occur in almost the same breath as “My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing o the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:1,5-6).

In every struggle – mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual – our challenge is to move from the fear of being overwhlemed to the confidence that God has overcome. Cowper didn’t find it easy, but he always found that God was greater than he had ever imagined.

Facing clouds today? Take courage! Your greatest praise to God may be sung in the darkest days of your life.

– David McCasland

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