The church today still sings the powerful, beautiful songs of the British poet and hymn writer William Cowper. Although he penned the words of hymns like “There Is a Fountain” and “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” he was a depressed man.
Cowper’s mother died when he was very young. Afterward, his father sent him to boarding school and really had nothing to do with him. Cowper struggled so mightily that he even made a number of suicide attempts.
His father then committed him to an asylum. There a doctor shared the gospel with him, and William Cowper came to Christ.
After his release, John Newton, the former captain of a slave ship, befriended him. Newton wrote hymns as well, including “Amazing Grace.” But Cowper still battled with depression, so Newton took him under his wing. He looked after him and helped him through life.
We too need to be the kind of friend that John Newton was to William Cowper. When we see someone who’s hurting, we need to engage them in conversation and offer to pray for them.
It reminds me of an experience my friend and I had in a restaurant awhile back. When the server walked up, my friend said to him, “How can we pray for you?”
I thought, “I don’t know if this is going to work.”
But then the server started pouring out his heart. It wasn’t long before we were praying for him.
The English theologian Joseph Parker said, “Speak to the suffering, and you will never lack an audience.”
Psalm 34:18 gives us this promise: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed” (NLT). There are so many hurting people in our world. So, pay attention. Ask God to help you be that caring person for someone else.
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