John Newton wrote the words to a song that has lasted over 200 years (Amazing Grace). He was famous pastor (whom the Lord saved out of the slave trade). He was British. I have nothing in common with him in these areas–I am not a singer, famous, or a pastor. But I can relate to him when he writes in his journal…
“Saturday, October 4th. in the afternoon retired into the field, to beg a blessing on tomorrow’s ordinances. But oh! what heavy work is this when I am left to myself. I toiled and toiled but my prayers were heartless and without meaning. Surely scarcely any person can be more different from another than I at times am from myself, though unworthy at the best of times. However, by the grace of God I resolved that no defect in my frames or preparations shall keep me from waiting upon the Lord in the ways of His appointment. The more dead I am, the more cause I have to come to Christ, who is my life.
“I know the reason for this want of spiritual life. We perish by what is lawful. The devil attacks some by storm, with violent temptations within and without, but he lays against me, as it were, by sap, in a more secret way, but not less dangerous, by beguiling my affections. But why do I say the devil? Alas! my own heart is weak and wicked enough to ruin me.”
Here is a plea to be made when in this frame (from a hymn, not written by Newton):
My hope is found in nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.