One of the most well-known hymns in the world was written by John Newton. A few of my favorite verses go like this …
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.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
Today I finished reading Finding Grace: a memoir by Donna VanLiere. In this memoir, Donna gives a bit of her personal history … a desert wandering … a discovery of grace … a realization of redemption … the redemption of pain, loss, suffering … and a joy unshakeable.
While I could talk about the freshness of Donna’s writing, the poignant story, the combination of narration and reflection … it is her insight that grace is often realized experientially in the challenges of life that spoke to my heart.
I am reminded of Paul … asking God to remove the thorn in his flesh … and God’s reminder … “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Donna writes, “He [God] had instead chosen the painstaking way of love, breaking through the chinks of our heart with small taps of grace.”
Once again … I am challenged to step back, step away from my circumstances … to gain a better view … a supernatural perspective … God’s grace abounding all about me.
Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
guilty of dust and sin. But quicked-ey’d Love, Observing me grow slack
from my first entrance in, Drew near to me, sweetly questioning,
if I lack’d any thing.
A guest, I answer’d, worthy to be here:
Love said, You should be he. I the unkinde, engrateful? ah my deare,
I can not look on thee. Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?
Truth Lord, but I hav marr’d them: let my shame
go where it doth deserve. And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the blame?
My deare, then I will serve. You must sit down, sayes love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.
~ George Herbert