Skip to content

Remembering the Gospel (3): We are not Forsaken

December 4, 2009

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Matt. 27:46

At the cross, we see the second Person of the Trinity, the man Jesus, bearing the sins of the world and giving us a small picture of the agony and shame in his statement, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Words cannot express the profound activity that is happening when Christ exclaims his forsakenness by the Father.  Divine judgment is taking place.  Darkness has filled the skies (Matt. 27:45) at mid-day.  Upon Jesus Christ, our sins and transgressions have been credited to him.

William Cowper was a famous hymn writer, poet, and satirist from the 18th century. He was brilliant in the eyes of many and had a promising career at the in The House of Lords at a fairly young age. But Cowper also battled with insanity, spending portions of his life in asylums. The bright spots in his life were the periods where he lived with the Unwin family in recovery and John Newton – a converted slave trader and pastor in London. Newton and Cowper would write many famous hymns together in order to place Cowper’s mind on great and glorious things rather than leave his mind to the darkness that lingered. Cowper would write powerful words such as this:

GOD moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Olney Hymns (1779)–’Light Shining out of Darkness’

Sadly, the death of his close friend Mary Unwin would send Cowper into a darkness that he could never recover from. He would spend the rest of his life in torment until dropsy finally seized him and killed him in the Spring of 1800.

The story of William Cowper is sad in the eyes of many because despite his great affection and passion for the glory of God and a high dependence on the accomplishments of the cross of Christ, it seemed as if God forsook his child and left him to his own darkness of mind. Many churches, today, do not sing his hymns because “dying in depression” displays a child who has forsaken his Savior or been forsaken by God.

But these assessments are not true. In fact, the story should bring hope and encouragement to saints who struggle with depression and fears of hell. The theme of William Cowper’s life was this:

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood,1772

D. A. Carson said this about the apparently sad ending of William Cowper’s life: “Jesus cried on the cross,’My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?’, so that William Cowper would never have to. That is substitution. That is the grounding for new birth. Nothing less.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lisa Blanco permalink
    December 7, 2009 4:54 pm

    Thanks bro, this was absolutely wonderful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: