Read Psalm 87-88
William Cowper was an english poet and hymn writer from the 1700’s who struggled with depression his entire life. He had to learn to fully trust in God’s plans for his life. And out of that journey he wrote his most famous hymn, “God moves in a mysterious way”. If you get a chance, read the entire hymn. But here are a few of the lines: “The clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head… Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face… God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take…”
I love that line: “Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face”. Why? Because I’ve been there. I’ve had those seasons of life where it seems like God isn’t answering prayers. Those times you hate to admit it, but you begin to wonder if God is against you not for you.
I think that is one of the reasons the Psalms are so beloved. They are raw and honest. The psalmists share feelings we are afraid to admit. For instance, Psalm 88:13-14: “But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. O Lord, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?”
Haven’t we all pleaded with God, “Why do you hide your face from me?” I want you to know today that God is a big God, He can take our confusion, and even at times, anger that we may feel. But don’t mistake our inability to understand our circumstances as inactivity or disinterest from Him. Behind what seems to us as “His frowning providence”, “He hides a smiling face”.
David understood that when he wrote Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
God is sovereign. Before we were even born, God had already made plans for our lives. Even despite a sinful world and our own sinful choices, God is able to weave His good and perfect will in our lives. Even when we don’t see it. William Cowper’s words are as relevant for us today as the day he wrote them hundreds of years ago: “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take”.
In what ways do you need to take courage this week? Take time to bring your fears to Him.
Even if you don’t see it, will you take time to praise God for “His smiling face”? Make it a priority to read or even sing William Cowper’s hymn this week.
Prayer for the day: “God, even when I don’t see it, You are at work in my life. I praise you for being sovereign. Help my faith grow stronger when it feels like your providence is frowning. In Jesus’ name, amen.”