Amazing Grace

In 2010, Facebook sponsored a “Facebook Fans Rank Favorite Hymns.” Amazing Grace ranked #3 on the list. (Want to know what ranked ahead of it? #1. Here I Am, Lord   #2. How Great Thou Art.)

The love shown in God’s grace is "amazing", and moves me to do things I would never do on my own. With my cooperation, I pray that “grace will lead me home.”

As familiar as I was with the song, it was only recently that I became familiar with the author of the hymn, John Newton. Mr. Newton was born in England in 1725. He didn’t have any religious affiliations or any big plans for his life. He was forced into serving his country in the Royal Navy, which ultimately led to his employment as a Captain on a slave trading ship.

In 1748, he was onboard his ship, when a violent storm blew up. He became very frightened of losing his ship and his life, so he cried out to God for help. He promised the Lord he would quit the slave trade if he were saved from the storm.

Mr. Newton’s ship was saved, and he eventually fulfilled his bargain with God. He was ordained into the Church of England, and published “Amazing Grace” in 1779.

The day of the storm, and that saving experience so long ago, truly was a day filled with grace. God saved a ship filled with his children. The risk in the storm caused a man who did not practice any faith to call out to God. The Father enlightened one more soul about the evils of slavery. Encouraged and supported to attend classes, this sea captain became a lyricist of sacred music.

All these changes really make me pause to thank God in the Spirit for his power to change people and events. I don’t know which one of these changes you think is the most powerful-but I was impressed by one more thing in this holy episode.

John Newton made a promise to God, and he kept that promise. Yes, it took him a little while to get around to it, but he did it. (See Matthew 21:29) How many times have I made a pledge in great distress, only to forget all about it when the ‘storm’ has passed?

In all the wonderful things I learned about this man, and the road to writing this hymn, I will remember his trustworthiness the most. He gives me hope. The power of God’s grace can help me be more accountable for my promises too; both to God and to his children. That will be “amazing!”

Thank you to Angel at Finding the Inspiring blog, for my new bible! I won her blog contest by 'joining' her, and she sent me The Woman's Study Bible. It's beautiful! So nice to have met you Angel, and I look forward to getting to know you better :).

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