I recently previewed the upcoming film Amazing Grace, which premieres in the UK in March. Although the movie's focus is on the great William Wilberforce and his slave abolition movement in the 18th century, it also features clips of Wilberforce's mentor John Newton, who is the writer of internationally renowned hymn "Amazing Grace".
I remember briefly studying Newton's story at a music theology course. As a former slave trader, he was converted to Christianity during a shipwreck, and eventually spent the rest of his life preaching and ministering, authoring over 100 hymns.
At the age of 82, Newton said, "My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour."
With crucial lyrics such as "that saved a wretch like me" and "was blind but now can see", the song "Amazing Grace" was probably birthed when he was at his lowest point in life- when nothing but the grace of God remained.
When there are hardships, indeed, nothing but the grace of God remains. It's a face to face moment with God alone.
When we hit rock bottom, some people blame God and turn away from Him. But the faithful ones turn to Him more, reminded that even if the whole world crumbles down, God will still be there to lead us to a greater path.
One of Britain's most prolific worship leader Matt Redman recently released his album Beautiful News, offering a song called "You Never Let Go".
O no, You never let go,
Through the calm and through the storm
O no, You never let go,
In every high and every low
The song was written by Redman and his wife during a difficult time, in which she had gone through a miscarriage. Despite the difficulties they faced, the couple wrote this song together, glorifying God and giving hope to thousands others who might be going through a similar situation.
Jaci Velasquez's "Lay it Down" was produced after she has suffered a divorce, and comes closest to describing how she has dealt with the disappointment and heartache in her life.
Despite the pain, Velasquez said, "I am learning how to live out the words of 'Lay It Down' daily and experiencing God's love, grace and mercy like never before. My God is so awesome, I can feel him lift me up every time I feel like it's all too much for me."
It's the true confession all Christians should have. "I am insufficient." "I screw up, and my life will never be perfect."
..."But God, You, the Creator of this heart of mine, are the only one who can fill me up."
Amazing Grace: When You're At Your Lowest Point
Published 27 January 2007