Monday, February 21, 2011

Cowper at His Best

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.

- William Cowper
I live with an almost constant awareness of the breach between the low intensity of my own passion and the staggering realities of the universe around me- of heaven, hell, creation, eternity, life, Jesus Christ, justification by faith, God.  All of us (whether we know it or not) try to close this breach between the weakness of our emotions and the wonder of the world.  Some of us do it with poetry.  It shouldn't be a surprise that more than three hundred pages of the Bible were written of poetry because one great aim of the Bible is to build a bridge between the prosaic deadness of the the human heart and the inexpressible reality of the living God." (J.I. Packer, The Hidden Smile of God, p. 112)
I have had this book in my Amazon cart for weeks trying to justify the buying, and so I bought it to give to a friend and had to read the the intro first chapters and the section on Cowper just to see if it was good; it was better than I expected.  It going back in my cart for my next splurge.  Doesn't the first few stanzas of this poem make you picture God as dashing over the water with super Ice Man like power complete with the "Shooh" sound effects?

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