You may recognize the heart of the headline above as being from the greatest hymn ever written, “Amazing Grace,” by John Newton, the former slave trader, and the English poet, William Cowper.
Only God knows how many men and women in the centuries since it was composed and published in 1779 have gladly sung that hymn because it so perfectly captured their unique stories.
Invariably and across the countless circumstances represented by so many different lives, “Amazing Grace” told of their having lived too many years, like Newton, blindly caught up in themselves, then in a moment of utter desperation and hopelessness, having their eyes miraculously opened to see the Lord’s incredible love and forgiveness despite everything they’d done.
That certainly has been the case for me, including the significant years I spent working on Capitol Hill and for President Reagan earlier in my career, and in the decades since as a journalist covering Congress and national politics.
I won’t bore you with the details; suffice it to say things appeared great on the outside for a long time, but the reality on the inside was anything but, for me or many of the people closest to me. Then came the great fall that exposed my blindness.
And, thank God, it also opened the eyes of my heart to see the immeasurable love of Jesus and began the incredible journey of change on which He has blessedly taken me since 9:15 a.m., March 1, 1991.
If you are interested, and it may surprise you how much we have in common regardless of your political orientation or position in the world, you can find out more here.
Listen to the words of “Amazing Grace,” and think of them in the context of your own life, then perhaps you, too, will be blessed with the insight of why the hymn is about the most amazing grace ever.
By the way, Judy Collins was a popular folk artist in the 1960s and 1970s, who sang an eclectic spectrum of songs, including several that made the top rungs of the charts, including “Both Sides Now.” She was quite a left-winger in those days.
I have no idea about her personal spiritual condition then or now, and there is no evidence I am aware of that she sang this hymn for any reason other than its sheer melodic beauty. That’s OK because God has used her in a wonderful way and according to His will.