God Moves in a Mysterious Way

The story of William Cowper’s struggle with anxiety and depression has always intrigued me. In his most famous hymn, God Moves in a Mysterious Way, he demonstrates that in the trials of his life and the darkness he fought he could always keep his eyes on the light and promises of Jesus Christ. In this great hymn, I think Cowper rested on the sovereignty and providence of God to bring sanity to his stormy life.

We all do well to rest in God’s sovereignty and providence in the same way. Here are the lyrics to this great hymn that Cowper penned and an arrangement for piano of the hymn you can listen or sing along to. Blessings.

  1. God moves in a mysterious way
    His wonders to perform;
    He plants His footsteps in the sea
    And rides upon the storm.
  2. Deep in unfathomable mines
    Of never failing skill
    He treasures up His bright designs
    And works His sov’reign will.
  3. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
    The clouds ye so much dread
    Are big with mercy and shall break
    In blessings on your head.
  4. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
    But trust Him for His grace;
    Behind a frowning providence
    He hides a smiling face.
  5. His purposes will ripen fast,
    Unfolding every hour;
    The bud may have a bitter taste,
    But sweet will be the flow’r.
  6. Blind unbelief is sure to err
    And scan His work in vain;
    God is His own interpreter,
    And He will make it plain.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: The Cure for Worry and Anxiety

I know this may sound weird, but sometimes I love to get down on the ground in my backyard to get a good close look at all the little plants, sticks and rocks. What amazes me is the detail in some of the smallest of those little plants.

Most people have a fascination with beautiful flowers. The zoo in our city built an entire facility called the botanical gardens just for gazing at plants. Large flowers like irises and gladiolas are always striking and stunning in their shape and colors. But have you ever stopped to take a look at the flowers that pop open in the smallest of plants right in your backyard?

The photo included in this article is one I took in my own yard. It’s a picture of a weed. That’s right, a tiny plant that is here today, gone tomorrow. It’s a plant that I wouldn’t think twice of either pulling out of the ground root and all, drenching with weed killer, or plowing down with my mower.

Take a moment and study the photo. Admire the complexity of this little purple flower. The colors are exquisite. The shape of the flower is almost tropical in design. The little “hairs” on the tops of each petal are unique. Even the green leaves underneath each flower have an almost Victorian look. All this beauty and intricacy — in a weed!

As I was on my hands and knees, phone in hand, trying to get the best shot of this tiny flowering weed I’m sure the neighbors thought I was a bit crazy. But there on the ground, as I sat gazing with amazement I was reminded of an important lesson the Lord Jesus teaches in the Scriptures. It’s one of those lesser to greater lessons that he used so often to get us to focus on the truths of the character and promises of God.

“See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28b-30)

This passage reminds me that God knows we are prone to anxiety. Our hearts and minds are bent towards worry. Jesus teaches believers that the cure to worry is to consider the flowers. Consider the reality that if God so decorates the flower of a weed that is here today and gone tomorrow, he will surely care for his adopted children who he has secured for all eternity through Jesus Christ.

How often we run here and there fretting over small and great things! How little we stop and take the time to marvel at the tiniest of flowers and use that as a lesson to remember the teachings of our Lord. The way to combat the frantic worried mind and heart is to stop and look at the flowers God has created. When we marvel at the beauty, creative mastery, colors, shape (and even smell), of something as insignificant as a flowering weed it should cause us to be reminded that God cares infinitely more for his adopted children than for that weed dressed in colors Solomon only dreamed about. And if that be the case, what in the world do we really have to worry about? Oh, we of little faith indeed!

If you are like me, you sometimes feel paralyzed by worry and anxiety. Over time I have slowly come to realize two important things. First, worry is a sin because we are in essence doubting God’s goodness and his providence. Second, the cure to worry and anxiety is to saturate your mind with the great truths of the word of God and his character. How amazing is it that our Lord teaches us to gaze at little flowers to help us be reminded of both of these truths!

So next time you are out and about, take a moment to stoop down and marvel at something as insignificant as a flowering weed. If you marvel through the lens of Scripture, it will be a balm to your weary anxious soul.

The Destructiveness of Worry

“Do not worry about anything–but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Learning not to worry, is one of the lessons that every Christian should master.

Worry is a terribly wasteful experience:

  • it uses up the strength we need for our duty,
  • it unfits us for doing our work well,
  • it is dishonoring to God, for He has promised to care for us, if only we do His will faithfully,
  • it is utterly fruitless, for it does not take away the things that it frets over.

The Bible gives many lessons on the subject–but none that makes plainer just how we are to eliminate worrying from our life, than what Paul here tells us to do.

First of all, we are simply not to worry: “Do not worry about anything.”
There is no room for exceptions, special circumstances, and all that.
We are not to worry about anything.

What then shall we do with the matters that we are disposed to worry over? Put them into the hands of God in prayer–and leave them there! If we do this–then the peace of God will guard our hearts and thoughts from all anxiety.

It will be a great benefit to us in every way, to learn this lesson.

(J.R. Miller, “Morning Thoughts” 1906 / HT: Grace Gems)

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash