The scriptures tell us that there was no rain when the earth was new. The plants were watered by mists that came out of the ground. After Noah boarded the ark, springs of water burst from the deep and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. What happened that day had never happened before and will never happen again. The force and magnitude of that event were simply beyond anything else seen or recorded by man. It must have been terrifying. And yet the deadly, raging waters carried the ark and its occupants to safety. By the grace of God, the fear was transformed to comfort.
Thousands of years later the son of an English shipmaster defied his father’s wishes and went to sea on a merchant vessel. In the years that followed he was pressed into service with the British navy, abandoned by his shipmates, and forced into slave service. He escaped from his captors and became deeply involved in slave trading himself. Later he faced death from storms and illness. During one especially bad storm he called out to God and was saved. Like those on board Noah’s ark, his fear was transformed to comfort. That is the story of John Newton, who is best known as the writer of the hymn Amazing Grace. After his conversion he would go on to become a minister of the Gospel and a leader in the movement to abolish slavery.
Somewhat less well known, Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken was also written by John Newton. Think about the waters that replace fear with comfort and life as you read these words.
See, the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply thy sons and daughters,
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint while such a river
ever will their thirst assuage?
Grace which like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.
Take encouragement from these words. Even though the waters frightened Noah and John Newton in their times and the storms of life continue to rage about us today, the Lord gives us comfort. Grace never fails from age to age. Grace never fails from step to step. Grace never fails. Be fearfully comforted on your journey today.
Follow the Path!
[Use with In the Calm After the Storm, day 18 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]