Tuesday Hymns: “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

It’s Tuesday again, which means it is time for another version of “Tuesday Hymns.” Today’s hymn is a marvelous verse entitled God Moves in a Mysterious Way by William Cowper (1731-1800). He was mentioned in last week’s “Tuesday Hymns” as a collaborator with John Newton in the publishing of the Olney Hymns (he provided 68 of the hymns). Cowper’s life was a difficult life of lost love, missed career opportunities, and battles with deep depression which led to several attempts at suicide, yet his hymns continue to bring comfort to the life of many Christians around the world two hundred years after his death. He also authored such classics as There is a Fountain Filled with Blood, and Jesus, Where’er Thy People Meet.

God Moves in a Mysterious Way was written in 1774, and some say it is the last hymn that he ever wrote (although that is up for debate). It is normally sung to the tune, Dundee, from the 1615 Scottish Psalter. It has been a great comfort to my personal life for many years, especially the line, “Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.” Enjoy now Cowper’s poetic description of our Sovereign God’s providence in this beautiful hymn.

 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 purposes 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.

For those who would like to read a more detailed biography, John Piper has an excellent one on his website entitled, Insanity and Spiritual Songs in the Soul of a Saint.

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2 Comments

  1. Ashley said,

    July 21, 2009 at 2:10 PM

    thanks! i needed this!

    • cliftonr said,

      July 21, 2009 at 2:20 PM

      You are welcome…and don’t we all?


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