Amazing Grace

John Newton signed on with a slave ship leaving from Africa with its “cargo.” He was an experienced sailor and navigator, but his cursing and blaspheming turned hardened sailors’ ears red. Soon the ship was caught in a horrible storm and was taking in water. The crew had to pump 24 hours a day to stay afloat. But the constant wind rocked the boat so dangerously that the sailors had to tie themselves to the deck to keep from being swept overboard.

At one point, several of the crew tried to throw Newton overboard. They figured that God was punishing him like Jonah of the Old Testament. The captain declared that the only way the ship would make it in to safe harbor was by God’s power. He commanded everyone—including Newton—to pray. “God, if You’re true,” Newton prayed earnestly, “make good your Word. Cleanse my vile heart.”

After four weeks of storms and constant brushes with death, the ship limped into an Irish port. John Newton, former “free thinker,” former slave trader and atheist, declared his faith in Jesus. He became a well-known preacher and writer. In fact, we chiefly know him as the author of the hymn “Amazing Grace.”

Have a great day,

Bro. Harry Shomaker

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