In his wonderful little book, The Red Sea Rules, Robert J. Morgan shares a story from the life of William Cowper. Cowper was a famous English poet and hymn writer who struggled with severe mental issues, bordering on insanity, until he became a Christian. Even after his conversation, he still struggled at times with bouts of depression and thoughts of suicide.
One night, while Cowper was experiencing a particularly bad bout of depression, he called for a carriage (this was 1774) and ordered the driver to take him to the Ouse River, which was only three miles from Cowper’s home. What Cowper didn’t tell the driver was that he planned to commit suicide in the river that night. The driver, however, suspected anyway. After all, who requests to go to a river in the middle of the night?
Now the driver had to think fast. How could he do his job and yet keep his passenger from carrying through on such a tragic plan? Providentially for the driver, a fog began to settle over the entire area, a fog thick enough for the driver to use the excuse that he had gotten lost in the fog.
So, around and around the driver drove, up one meaningless road and down another, oftentimes going in circles, always avoiding the river, as Cowper fell asleep inside the carriage. Finally, after several hours had passed, the driver pulled the carriage up to Cowper’s home and woke him from his deep sleep. Once Cowper was fully awake and recognized where he was, he asked, “We’re back home? How is that” The driver answered, “Got lost in the fog, sir. Sorry.”
After paying the driver and dismissing him, Cowper went inside and began to ponder how God had used the fog and the driver to keep him from ending his life. That same night he wrote an autobiographical hymn that contained the following words:
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.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace; Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain; God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.
I especially like those words “God is His own interpreter.” Tell me, have you found that to be true? I sure have. Unfortunately, I’ve also found that He doesn’t always feel the need to share His interpretation with me, at least not until some time has passed.
The good news, though, is that I’ve also found those words “And He will make it plain” to be just as true. It might not happen today. It might not happen next week. It might not happen next month. It might not happen next year. But somewhere along the way God will make plain to you the reason why He’s either allowed or caused that certain something to come to pass in your life. You just need to hang in there with Him, trust Him, and keep asking Him for the explanation. It’s there, and He’s got it, and one day, when the timing is right and the process of waiting has accomplished its helpful work, He will share it with you .