Surely one of the saddest statistics confronting us is that the most common cause of death amongst under 35's in the UK today is suicide. But as I reflected upon this recently it put me in mind of a man who was saved from taking his own life in a truly amazing way.
In a previous blog 'Adventure in Adversity' I finished with a reference to God, 'moving in some pretty mysterious ways His wonders to perform'. Of course this is a pretty common expression, but I wonder if you know of its origin? Well the background to it is this...
It's a true story which began back in the 18th century on what was an extremely
foggy night in London. Though the central character in this drama was a
committed Christian, he was subject to severe bouts of depression. And on this particular occasion he had become overwhelmed by distress and had sunk to the very depths of despair. Deciding to take his own life he called for a horse-drawn carriage and asked the coachman to take him to London Bridge from where he
had decided he would throw himself into the Thames.
The coach arrived and they began to make their way through the winding streets
of old London. But after 2 hours of driving through the thick fog the coachman
had to reluctantly confess that they were totally lost. Disgusted by the delay the man decided to try to find London Bridge on foot. But having walked only a comparatively short distance he found himself virtually back at his own doorstep. The carriage had been going round in circles!
In view of all this the man recognised the restraining hand of God upon him.
He began to realise that the way out of his troubles was not to leap into the
Thames, but to look to God. As a consequence he 'cast his burdens upon the
Lord' and his heart was reassured and comforted.
Following the totally unexpected way events had unfolded for him he sat down, and with a new awareness of gratitude to the Lord, wrote 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.
O fearful saints fresh courage take;
the clouds you so much dread are big with mercy,
and shall break with blessings on your head.'
The name of the man in question is William Cowper who, despite being prone to depression throughout much of his life, went on to write some of our best-known hymns.
But then there was another man... a bridge... a river... and yet a very different outcome.
One of my relatives told me that his office window overlooked a river, and one day he saw a man standing on a bridge further upstream. Suddenly to his shock the man threw himself into the water. However, a bystander saw what had happened and raced to where a lifebelt was positioned on the riverbank. As the drowning man was carried downstream by the current his would-be rescuer threw the lifebelt to him... but horror of horrors, the man ignored it and was swept to his death.
Yet isn't this what many men and women do today? They reject the 'lifebelt' of the gospel of Christ, the only way to peace with God and everlasting security... not realising that...
'The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves
those who are crushed in spirit.'