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
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
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 :).
Labels: grace, john newton, promise