Of all the songs I love to sing, this is one – if not the one – which I love the most. Think about it. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind but now I see.” Everyone today who believes Christ and receives Him as Lord and Savior, was once lost and blind, but now found and able to see. It’s a soul deep feeling that makes His grace so indescribably amazing and the sound so satisfyingly sweet.
“Taste and see that the Lord He is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see- how good GOD is. Blessed are you who run to Him.” –Psalm 34:8
It was many years after first hearing this song, that I learned its history. At the time I was shocked to learn that John Newton had a career as a slave trader before, during and for a few years after he wrote this wonderful song. As a person of African, Native American and other descent, it felt almost weird to be singing a song written by a man whose livelihood was to capture, buy and sell into captivity, people who looked just like me.
What did this mean? How could this be?
In the midst of this questioning God began to speak to my heart and show me His visible faithfulness throughout the generations of men.
Were it not for Calvary’s Cross we’d all be dead in our trespasses and sin. We’d all be as undone as John Newton by the prevailing ways that our own particular hearts are shaped and bent.
All of us have been in storms at one time or another. In fact, it was in the midst of a storm that Newton, realizing his helpless state, took his first steps toward religion and faith in God. Like we all once were, Newton was a spiritually bankrupt man, who, just like you and me, came to a point of decision, realizing that only the grace of God could save him. As it has and does in our hearts and lives the process of change began in his, and soon after he penned the words to “Amazing Grace”.
I could share story after story after story of grace so amazing, not the least of which is how God saved a wretch like me. Amazing grace!! Why did He do it? I didn’t deserve it! I did nothing to earn it.
Yet, here I am—redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, set free from the just penalty my sin deserves; saved by His amazing grace!
Dear sisters, no matter where you are or what you are doing, never forget to remember that it is by grace alone you have thus far been brought. Indeed, God has thus far brought us to this very moment and we remain confident that He will lead all of us safely home.
“The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.”
Stephanie D. Paul serves as part of the Addiction Recovery Team at America’s Keswick as Director of Women of Character. She has been married for over 30 years to Sesky Paul who is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. They have two grown children.
Her single focus in ministry at Keswick is to image Christ in grace and truth to wounded and hurting women, encouraging them to make Jesus the truest Lover of their soul and the One in whom all hope lies.