The Gift of Amazing Grace

Something about life's storms can cause us to pause and assess where we've been, where we are and where we're going. The same was true for slave trader, John Newton on March 21, 1748. It was during a particularly harrowing storm when he had time to think and compare his life to the battered ship on which he traveled. Newton was known for his blasphemy, profanity and crudeness. He had learned about the Lord when he was a boy, and his mother had even prayed that he would become a minister. But John had rebelled completely. As he reflected that day, Newton somehow remembered words from the book of Proverbs about the consequences of rejecting and ignoring God. He figured he was beyond saving because of all he had done, but he found a Bible on the ship and began to read. Luke 11:13 especially spoke to his heart, "If you the, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" God's amazing grace began to transform Newton that day. He started to faithfully pray and study God's Word. He began influencing other sailor for Christ and eventually left slave trading altogether. In 1764, at the age of 39, Newton began preaching the gospel of Christ and serving his Savior full-time. His mother's prayers were answered with a ministry that lasted 43 years. During this time, John Newton often composed hymns. One of those hymns was the hymn we know as, "Amazing Grace," reportedly written about his experiences on that ship many years earlier. Newton knew what it meant to receive the incredible gift of God's grace. He knew he had been a "wretch," and God had not only saved him, but transformed him. In his words, "'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; how precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed!" That first hour took place while a fierce storm was raging. Sometimes it's during storms we encounter that we recognize what we need most - the gift of God's amazing grace.