The Dark Night of the Soul

by | Jun 12, 1997 | Presence, Trials

If I remember correctly the following story is about William Cowper, poet and hymn writer, who lived from 1731-1800 in England.

Cowper suffered fits of meloncholy and frequent attacks of spiritual despair which led to two suicide attempts. On one of these occasions during a time of deep despair and a dark night of the soul, on a foggy night he set out from his home in London with the intention of jumping into the Thames River to end his life.

He got hopelessly lost in the fog and wandered blind for some time. Eventually, lost and confused, he walked into a home to get out of the fog. And the home he walked into? It was his own.

He sat down and penned the words of the beloved hymn:

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

Dear reader, if you are going through a dark night of the soul right now and it feels that God is far away, be assured he is standing in the shadows and as he knows about every sparrow he knows all about you and he cares. When we commit and trust our life to God every day, “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy will come in the morning.”

By Dick Innes, Daily Encounter . Used by permission.

Daily Encounter – November 30, 1998


The Dark Night of the Soul