Patty’s Amazing Grace
And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
so that in all thing at all times…
you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8
Patty enjoyed singing, even though she was not quite gifted in that area. One of the things we would do when we got together for a holiday was sing. I do think she got a kick out of watching me cringe as the group would demolish Christmas songs, because I would see her nearly wink at me when it happened.
However, when it came to hymns, there was no fooling around. She may not have been a gifted singer, but she embraced the fact that the Bible tells us to ‘make a joyful noise unto the Lord’ and it was counted as worship. One of Patty’s favorite hymns was “Amazing Grace”. I know it tends to be a favorite for many people and I am also aware that for many non-believers, it represents a spiritual ballad that is easy to remember. But for Patty, it was a life-line, a reminder of what grace was for her. I am dedicating a separate post to tell you about Patty’s faith. I can assure you that this hymn meant more to her than an ‘easy to remember spiritual ballad’.
Patty knew what it was to be a wretch of a sinner. She didn’t have the luxury of growing up in a Christian home where she never knew a day without Christ. For Patty, grace was a real and tangible thing. Grace confronted her and entered her so0ul to clean house. Grace abounded in Patty and entered everything she did after her conversion.
Grace was just as real a thing to John Newton, who wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”. John Newton left school at the age of 11 to begin life as a rough, debauched seaman. Eventually he engaged in the despicable practice of capturing natives from West Africa to be sold as slaves to markets around the world.
But one day, the grace of God put fear into the heart of this wicked slave trader through a fierce storm. Greatly alarmed and fearful of a shipwreck, Newton began to read The Initation of Christ by Thomas A Kemps. God used this book to lead him to a genuine conversion and a dramatic change in his way of life.
John Newton also knew what it meant for God’s grace to confront his soul and clean house. John became an ordained minister of the Anglican church in Onley, England. Not only was he a powerful preacher, but he introduced simple hymns into his service. This was a break from the Psalms singing that was the ‘norm’ for that day. After exhausting the hymns available, he began to write his own. “Amazing Grace” was one of them. As a former ribald seaman and slaver, he knew first hand what a wretch he had been and how grace had entered his life.
It wasn’t just a hymn to John Newton or to Patty. It was for them, a real reminder of their story, of their meeting a Savior who offered them grace they did not deserve, and becoming a beloved child of God. How amazing grace is!
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.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!
Thru 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.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.
When Christ’s grace touches a life, there is no telling how far the ripples will reach. Patty’s grace touched her family and continues to ripple through the generations. John Newton’s ripple influenced key players in the abolitionist movement in England in the early 19th century. You can learn more about that by watching the powerful and moving movie Amazing Grace.
This post was also inspired by my current devotional. Because of my love for history and song, my husband gave me a devotional that incorporates all these things: Amazing Grace-366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. I have thoroughly enjoyed my daily devotions this year!!!
This is part of a blogging series “Remembering Patty“.