It was a rainy summer night and I was at my parents' house while they were on vacation. The screened-in porch out back is perfectly cozy on nights like that one, the best kind of spot to sit and read and write while the rain falls and the crickets chirp and darkness blankets the sky. Something about being by myself in that big house and that weather made me more introspective and reflective than usual, and my pen was pouring out words onto paper in a way that hadn't happened in a while.
The chorus of Amazing Grace was stuck in my head for some reason, and I pulled up an instrumental version of it next to the lyrics on my phone. As an acoustic guitar played this song that's so familiar and I read through the words, I was struck by the power and immensity of grace. I sat still, put down my pen, closed my eyes, and let it all sink in.
We say it all the time, casually...amazing grace. The two words have become joined over time, we say it as one thing, and I think we've lost some of the awe of how amazing grace really is.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. Wretch: an unfortunate or unhappy person. That feels like the most appropriate description of who I have been lately. In the midst of so much ambiguity and uncertainty throughout all aspects of my life, I've been sinking into myself, shrinking away from truth and the Word, questioning everything and trusting little. It is unfortunate. I have been unhappy. I've been a wretch.
I once was lost-- I feel that. Right now. In a season of overwhelming changes, I absolutely feel lost. I feel blind. I don't know what's next, I don't know what's around the bend. Wretch, lost, blind...yep. How easy it is to convince ourselves that we can't change these things, to give these things power over us to keep us down and out and hiding on the sidelines in fear.
But I'm not stuck there. I'm not out of the race. Oh, amazing grace. I'm saved. Grace saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.
Neon signs didn't light the road ahead of me with flashing directions, the long list of questions in my head weren't automatically answered, the concerns didn't disappear...but amazing grace flooded over me. I may feel like a wretch, feel lost, feel blind, but I've been saved, I'm found, I can see. I can see grace redeeming and feel love restoring. The questions and the fear and the anxiety pale in comparison to the tsunami of grace washing over my starving soul.
Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace, my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.
That grace appeared when I believed. I could run, I could hide, I could shrink back and lash out, but when I stopped fighting and started believing, grace appeared. How precious, that grace.
Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; its grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
There have been circumstances more challenging than these. There have been doubts bigger than these. There have been dangers, toils and snares. I have come through them all. Grace has brought me through each one. Grace isn't done with me yet, grace isn't tired of me and all my antics, grace isn't intimidated by my questions or turned off by my doubts. Grace grabs my hand and leads me home one step at a time. Grace picks me up when my legs are too tired to keep going. Grace wraps me up in a big bear hug when I make it over a hurdle. Grace cheers me on and celebrates every victory and chants my name and believes in me when I'm out of breath and struggling and ready to quit. Grace leads 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.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine; but God who called me here below will be forever mine.
When we've been here ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we'd first begun.
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.