God Moves in a Mysterious Way


God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
You fearful saints, fresh courage take:
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

O, bless the Lord with heart and soul,
Let all within me sing
And trust the wisdom of my God,
My Father, Lord, my King.

With deepest wisdom, highest love,
And never failing skill
He masterminds His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

O, bless the Lord with heart and soul,
Let all within me sing
And trust the purpose of my God,
My Father, Lord, my King.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

O, bless the Lord with heart and soul,
Let all within me sing
And trust the goodness of my God,
My Father, Lord, my King.

Behind a frowning providence
God hides His smiling face.

Lyrics by William Cowper. Public Domain.
Additional lyrics and music by Gary Brumley.
© 2007 New Moniker Music. CCLI Song Number: 5461158



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God Moves in a Mysterious Way is a well-loved text by the 18th-century English poet William Cowper. Many who are familiar with Cowper’s regular bouts of mental illness and depression find encouragement from his writings, which were compiled and published in the Olney Hymns (1779) by his close friend John Newton. Cowper’s hymns are a reminder that God uses the weak, the broken, and the downcast to bless his church and advance Christ’s mission on earth. Indeed he does move in mysterious ways. Interested readers may enjoy John Piper’s biographical talk on the life of William Cowper.

My normal practice is to only write new tunes to more obscure hymn texts and to leave the well-known ones well enough alone. However, this being one of my first ever hymn revisions, I did not know any better at the time. Consequently, it has also become one of my most popular pieces of music. After completing the music, I uploaded a very rough demo recording of it to share with my church’s musicians. Somehow, someone who I do not know found the mp3 and created a YouTube video that has garnered over 125K views. Over the years I have received many emails from worship leaders around the world asking permission to use this song in their church. Of course, the answer is always yes. Cowper’s cherished lyrics—reminding us of the mysterious workings of the Lord—need to be sung again and again.

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