John Newton’s most famous hymn, Amazing Grace, was first written as an illustration for his 1773 New Years Day sermon. I sometimes wonder how Newton would have felt if he’d known it would still be sung around the world 240 years later.
The mention of the title alone brings its first verse to mind:
“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.”
There is such good news in these words for those who have experienced this amazing grace. The ones whom Jesus calls his brothers and sisters. But what I love about it isn’t just how good this grace was for us then, on the hour we first believed. This grace is still good news for us now and into the future.
And this is what we need to remember going into this new year, one that, perhaps, finds you filled with angst or fear. We truly don’t know what this coming year is going to bring, any more than we knew what 2016 was going to have in store for us. For many of us, it was a mix of joy and sorrow. Celebration and mourning. Constantly. Think through whatever you personally experienced in the last year. Without minimizing your feelings, I hope you can look back and see that through all the “many dangers, toils, and snares,” you were carried through by the grace of God.
His grace brought you to where you are now.
And that is the one thing we can be certain of in 2017. Regardless of what happens on the world stage, or in our personal lives, the grace that has brought us to this point will continue to move us forward. And that same unshakeable grace will carry us through until we are finally lead home.