Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.
The lyrics to the beloved hymn “Amazing Grace” are words of testimony written by John Newton, a man who spent his early years conflicted about his confusing religious upbringing. He took pride in attempting to dissuade others from their beliefs.
While he was on board a ship that would search the African coast for people to capture and sell as slaves, a violent storm rose up and swept several crew members overboard. Newton survived, acknowledged his helplessness in the storm, and credited God’s grace for saving him.
Much like Paul’s story, Newton’s encounter with God shifted the trajectory of his life. Newton reversed his views on slavery, became an abolitionist, was ordained as a priest in the Church of England, and eventually wrote “Amazing Grace.”
God’s grace continues to amaze me. Both the Apostle Paul and John Newton inflicted much pain, fear, and chaos in the lives of those they were passionately pursuing. They seemed set in their ways, entrenched in the path they were pursuing. Yet God creates space and opportunity in their lives to transform who they were into who they could become. God helps them turn away from their commitments that were harming God’s children so that they would become instruments of God’s work, bringing others to Christ and transforming lives for the better. The unfolding story of God’s love makes it clear that all of us have been lost. But the experience of being found by God gives us a new vision of what to do next.
What new work should I be doing because I have been found by God?
Holy Spirit, grant me the wisdom and courage to do things anew. Amen.