Today I was reminded of the story surrounding the writing of ‘Amazing Grace’. John Newton was a rough and rude sailor who had made many ill fated choices over the course of his life. During an ocean voyage his ship was damaged so severely that the crew expected to sink into the sea at any minute. On the eleventh day of riding the waves of that terrible storm, an exhausted John was strapped down and tied to the helm. His job; to keep the ship on an even keel. Eleven hours later John’s heart had been changed by God, and one of our favorite hymns was born into his heart.
Isaiah 43:2 NLT
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
In the eleventh hour, John was saved from the deep waters. He did not drown that day. He received Jesus as his Lord and began his journey with Christ. He didn’t wake up the next day and change everything about his life, but he began his journey with God by his side. Eight years later he began a bible study in his home and eventually he became the pastor of a parish.
Jesus took this rough, rude, slave trading poser and transformed him into an anti-slavery activist and a beloved parish priest. Jesus saves us. He saves us even when everything around us looks bleak. He saves us when we are fighting our way through the worst difficulties. Jesus is the salvation for our minds, our hearts and our very lives. Jesus is salvation, even when we seem to be in our eleventh hour. Jesus saves.