Shortly after John Newton turned eight years old, he was orphaned and became a “wanderer.” He eventually began working on ships and the sea captain became his “father.” It was not long before he joined the Royal Navy. Dissatisfied, he deserted his post, was caught, put in irons and whipped publically before being thrown in prison.
Leaving prison angry and defiant, he signed on with the lowest of all seagoing ships – one that carried slaves.
Aboard the new ship life continued to deteriorate. The wife of the captain treated him with great disdain. When meals were served, his food was thrown on the floor and he was forced to eat like a dog. If he refused to eat, he was beaten. He finally escaped, made his way to shore where he built a fire and attracted a ship that rescued him.
John could hardly read, but his knowledge of the sea and sailing ships earned him a promotion. One day he served the crew too much rum and they became drunk. It so angered the captain, that while brutally beating him, John was knocked overboard. But instead of allowing him to drown, he threw a harpoon at John and rescued him. The harpoon speared him and as a result, he carried a scar the rest
of his life.
On a voyage from Brazil a severe storm nearly sank the ship. Newton became so frightened that he fell on his knees and asked God to save him. Years later, reflecting on his sordid life, he again fell on his knees. This time to write the great hymn, “Amazing Grace,” to honor “The Lord who was gracious, compassionate, and slow to anger.”
Prayer: Father, “sin is sin” and all of us have compiled our own list. We thank You that Your grace exceeds every sin! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.