God works in mysterious way

William Cowper was a 19th Century English poet whose first writings were total failures. No one would have anything to do with his poetry. Out of money with no chance at a job, unable to make a relationship work, one evening he decided to end it all. He left his flat, hailed a horsedrawn cab and said, “Take me to the River Thames.” There he planned to jump off London Bridge and drown himself.

They had barely started when one of those fogs for which London used to be famous rolled in. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. For one hour the horse-drawn cab wandered through the streets of London trying to find the Thames River, normally only a 10-minute ride away.

Finally, the driver stopped, got down, opened the door and said, “I’m sorry, we are completely lost. If I give the horse the reins I think he can find the way back to the barn. I’ve got to do that. I’m sorry to let you off here; I don’t know where I’m leaving you. But I can’t find the Thames; I can’t find anything. The horse and I are going home. Goodnight.”

Can you imagine William Cowper? He can’t sell his poetry, a relationship won’t work, he can’t get a job and now he can’t even kill himself! Frustrated, he got out of the cab and stepped up on the curb. As he did, his knee brushed a hitching post he recognized as being in front of his flat. After an hour of traveling lost in the fog, not having a clue as to where they were, the taxi driver had deposited him, unknowingly, right back where he had started.

William Cowper was shaking like a leaf. He made his way up the long flight of stairs to his flat, got down on his knees and said, “Oh, God, forgive me for what I was about to do. And thank you. For even when I had given up on my life, You had not given up on me. You brought me back and have given me a second chance. Here and now I give you my life, and I ask you to lead.”

And so it was that William C ow per moved f rom being Christian in principle to being Christian in fact and gave Christ full control. It was the turning point in his life. He went on to become a great poet, a great human being and a great follower of Jesus Christ.

That night William Cowper wrote a poem telling what happened to him. Here is a part of that poem:
God moves in a mysterious
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in
the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
You frightened saints, fresh
courage take;
The cloud s you so much
Are filled with mercy, and
shall break
In blessings on your head.

Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple where he was senior minister for 23 years.

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2010-06-24 digital edition

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