Scripture Verse

You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand. John 13:7


William Cowper

Words: Will­iam Cow­per, in Twen­ty-Six Let­ters on Re­li­gious Sub­jects, by John New­ton, 1774.

Music: Dun­dee Scot­tish Psalt­er, 1615 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

This is re­por­ted­ly the last hymn Cow­per ev­er wrote, with a fas­cin­at­ing (though un­sub­stan­ti­at­ed) sto­ry be­hind it.

Cowper oft­en strug­gled with de­pres­sion and doubt. One night he de­cid­ed to com­mit su­i­cide by drown­ing him­self. He called a cab and told the driv­er to take him to the Thames Ri­ver. How­ev­er, thick fog came down and pre­vent­ed them from find­ing the ri­ver (an­oth­er ve­rsion of the sto­ry has the driv­er get­ting lost de­lib­er­ate­ly).

After driv­ing around for a while, the cab­by fin­al­ly stopped and let Cow­per out. To Cow­per’s sur­prise, he found him­self on his own door­step: God had sent the fog to keep him from kill­ing him­self. Even in our black­est moments, God watch­es ov­er us.


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.